From the Federal Court of Australia, via Glyn Moody writing for Techdirt, the IPKat has learnt of a judgment in which a film maker has been awarded AU$147,000 plus costs in respect of a successful action for groundless threats of copyright infringement. The case is Bell v Steele (No. 3).
|Artist Richard Bell in front of his work 'Half Light'|
Photo: Art Gallery of New South Wales
|Of course, it's different if you can back up your threat...|
As far as we are aware, this is the first time damages have been awarded where a third party had content removed from the Internet without legal justification. In light of this decision, if a person falsely tells a file-sharing or social media website that they own copyright in an image or movie to have it taken down, and in fact that is not the case, it could be actionable as an unjustifiable threat. The IPKat suspects that there may be more litigation where this came from. Mallesons round off their comment on the decision by saying “The trailer for the video is now on YouTube. Click here to watch the trailer.” Ever obedient, the IPKat duly clicked but was confronted by a black screen (below) and the following message from YouTube:
"Blackfella's Guide to ..." This video is no longer available due to
a copyright claim by Tanya Steele. Sorry about that.