Full Tuzov’s case verdict published: Tuzov to pay 265,000 rubles
Penza, 23 June 2016. PenzaNews. The website of the Penza region Arbitration Court has published the full text of the verdict on the Alexander Tuzov vs “VolgaInterMedia” lawsuit over illegal use of PenzaNews copyrighted photos, according to which the former is to pay 265 rubles to the latter.
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The full text of the verdict in Russian by judge Svetlana Novikova spanned over 19 pages, with nearly 8 of them dedicated to matters related to authors of photos – former and current PenzaNews staff members – who acted as third parties during the court case.
All of them confirmed their authorship of the photos they made during job duty. The court recognized the fact, and noted that Alexander Tuzov failed to prove it wrong.
“The parties involved in employment agreements confirmed their intentions that ‘VolgaInterMedia’ holds exclusive copyright for the photos in question by authors of the aforementioned photos. With that in mind, the arbitration court concludes that the complainant has exclusive rights for use of the photos in question,” the court verdict reads.
It also renders null and void the claims by Alexander Tuzov that the complainant was to provide photo source files in RAW file format instead of allegedly “modified” JPG files.
“The court does not agree to the claim of the defendant, as the third parties […] explained that the photos were taken using photo cameras owned by the editorial office under their editorial objectives, while some of the photos were taken using cellphones due to element of surprise. The photos originally used JPG file format for source files. In addition, employment agreements covered any and all digital photography without any limitations in regards to source file type,” it reads.
“While the source files presented are not compiled in RAW file format, this still does not negate their copyright. The allegations of the defendant that the metadata in the photos could have been forged using technical means was not backed up with any documents. Moreover, the defendant declined to initiate any forensic examinations in this regard,” it stresses.
Also, judge Svetlana Novikova concluded that the question of the copyright does not require a certain file format and is related solely to the fact of creation of copyrighted data and transfer of rights to the current copyright holder.
Moreover, the court rendered null and void defendant’s claims that the users of the web portal owned and editor-in-chiefed by Alexander Tuzov are technically able to post comments to articles on their own while the website administrators and editors are not involved in upload process, data initiation, integrity and content quality whatsoever.
“Being the party that registered the domain name agreement, the domain administrator administrates the domain. […] Since actual use of website resources is impossible without a degree of involvement from the domain administrator, being a party that created the technical capacity for use of the website by its users, the domain owner bears responsibility for the content of the information published on the website,” the court says.
Moreover, judge Svetlana Novikova added that Art. 1274 of the Civil Code – the Fair Use law of the Russian Federation for information, scientific, educational or cultural purposes – does not apply to Tuzov’s case.
Also, she added that the defendant’s allegations to the aforementioned law are unrelated.
In addition, the court declined Alexander Tuzov’s claims that he “was not an individual entrepreneur during the creation of the photo or their publication.”
“The Arbitration Court works on the cases that fall under two criteria at the same time: both sides are organizations; […] the claim is related to business or other economy activities. […] At the moment of creation of the case in the arbitration court on 13 January 2016, Alexander Tuzov was an individual entrepreneur, and both aforementioned conditions were satisfied at that moment,” the verdict states.
Moreover, according to the document, the court was skeptical to defendant’s mentions of third parties that claimed that the banners with their phone numbers on the defendant’s website is not advertising.
At the same time, Alexander Tuzov himself was also trying to convince the court that his “make-believe” banners on the website give him no income.
“These two facts allow us to conclude that the defendant sought to conduct sales of the aforementioned banners as advertising,” the verdict says.
As a result, the court concluded that “there is proof that the defendant committed a breach of copyright over 35 copyrighted photos [35 facts of illegal use thereof], which confirms the claims of the complainant to demand compensation from the defendant for illegal distribution of copyrighted work.”
As a result, judge Svetlana Novikova “seeking the necessity to uphold copyright and legal interests of the parties, requirements of acceptability and justice” stated to fine Alexander Tuzov 265,000 rubles of compensation – 5,000 rubles for each illegal use of PenzaNews copyrighted work – in favor of “VolgaInterMedia,” as well as 6,800 rubles to compensate for complainant’s legal fees.
As a result, overall Alexander Tuzov will have to pay 271,800 rubles, as well as any additional legal dues.