The plaintiff in Andrew Collett v. Northland Art Company Ltd, Mr Collett, is a professional photographer who specializes in works of natural photography. The defendants, Northland Art Company Canada Inc and Bremner Fine Art Inc (Northland), had a business relationship with Mr Collett, selling prints of his artwork to consumers and resellers. The business relationship broke down in 2013 and Mr Collett ultimately brought an action against the defendants alleging that they continued to supply printed copies of his photographic works after the relationship had terminated. He also alleged that their use of a link to his professional website from their own website, after he had demanded they delink, was an infringement, and that Northland had breached his moral rights by selling 50 copies of a work called “Spirit of our Land” made by Collett but attributed (by the defendants) to another artist. Mr Collett asserted that the attribution to another artist infringed his moral right to be associated with the work.
An order issued pursuant to a summary judgment motion had previously stated that copyright subsisted in the works and that Mr Collett was the owner of the copyright and moral rights in the works.
The Court held that Northland infringed copyright and moral rights in the reproduction of the artwork “Spirit of Our Land”. The Court also found that Mr Collett’s copyright was infringed in two other artworks, and by linking to Mr Collett’s website home page and biography.
The Court ordered a permanent injunction against all future use, sale, and reproduction by the defendants of the plaintiff’s works. The defendants were also ordered to pay $45,000 in statutory damages, $10,000 for infringement of moral rights, and $25,000 in punitive damages for purposes of retribution, deterrence and denunciation.
Summary By: Jennifer Davidson
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