Legal Updates

Commercial use of an image documenting a work of art without the artist’s consent or giving it credit constitute a copyright infringement

January 25, 2023

In a commercial advertisement of a company, which sought to illustrate its services in the field of transportation of artwork, appeared a photo from an exhibition documenting the artwork by a Bezalel graduate alongside a commercial inscription and the company’s logo stamped on it. The company did not receive the artist’s consent to such use and did not give her credit in its publications.

The Court accepted the claim for copyright infringement and the company ought to compensate the artist. Copyright is a proprietary right and infringement damages the property of the copyright holder. Performing without permission an act that is exclusive to the copyright holder is a copyright infringement, whether done intentionally or unintentionally. Here, the artist presented the work in an exhibition and did not give her consent to any other use than that. The company later acquired the rights to the photo from the photographer, in an attempt to “legalize” its actions, but the acquisition of the rights to the photo did not give the company the right to use another’s artwork. Adding a commercial inscription and company’s logo on top of the image of the artwork and by making the artwork available to the public in such way without the artist’s consent and without giving her credit, constitutes copyright infringement and therefore the company was to compensate to the artist.