My not-so-recently removed amateur nature photo pages have been turned into a real long-lasting cockfight arena with flying capercaillie feathers and all!
Please do not mix this Reijo Viljanen with a real artist painter with the same name here: http://www.reijoviljanen.com/index.html
Here my capercaillie photo's brave bird fights against numerous copyright violations done by our shameful replica copy painter called Reijo Viljanen in Ylöjärvi, Finland!
These copyright violation cases in detail can be found from the Part I of this blog story.
As most of you know now, my capercaillie photo's copyright has been violated by copy painter Reijo Viljanen without my permission for this photo usage.
Image comparisons for this can be seen below... (on the left my photo on my old web page and on the right Viljanen's sales page for his copy painting).
NOTE: An alternative web page for this copyright offending painting is below:
I noticed that Viljanen has now removed his web shop now and THAT is a BIG victory for us all!):
And when Viljanen removes also that web gallery page, this copyright violation web page is saved here too as a screen capture.
|This image on the left shows a GIF animation from my original capercaillie photo and Reijo's copy painting (image taken from his web page). These images have been resized to the same pixel size, then aligned on top of each other in PhotoShop layers and finally saved as an animated GIF file for web. No other editing has been done in PhotoShop to Reijo's painted image, because there was absolutely no need for that :-D|
For the record this never ending animation has one second's frame rate with these overlapping images. You can spot that there are several small differences between these two images, but the overall look of this copy work tells us a clear story: "No matter how much you decorate someone else's photo, you should not claim this new piece of image as your own original copyrighted art!"
The almost never ending fight against copyright violations continues here with new turns and twists... (since 12/2012).
Here's the tail from previous page for catch up.
Like I told, I have some District Court news on this copyright violation case!
After the Copyright Council's indecisive verdict on this case (my update 05.02.2015 on the Page I of this blog), the official prosecutor in Tampere (in Western Finland) moved on with this case very quickly and made some decisive actions. Great news for us :-D
Here in Finland it's prosecutor's job to look at all the facts from a case like this against the Finnish law and then decide, if this kind of case is worth prosecuting in the District Court. In the beginning of March 2015 local prosecutor decided that a real copyright law violation has happened here in my copyright case and then the same prosecutor started to run my case actively into District Court! There he tried to proof to judge that Reijo has offended Copyright law in several places here in Finland and Reijo Viljanen was charged for breaking copyright law in Finland!
(This is the part where the plot starts to thicken...)
As a consequence of these events I was sued to District Court and my role there was to act as a witness for prosecutor in this case "Viljanen against Finnish Law and Order". I was voluntary to attend that job decription as prosecutor's witness (actually I had no choice there ;-) and therefore I went to District Court on the 9th of June this year.
The trial took several hours over there (from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM). We (the official prosecutor, my lawyer and myself) could present this violation case quite well for the Finnish judge. The prosecutor was extremely well prepared for this case and he accused Reijo efficiently and defended my case with great professional attitude and good understanding of photography point of views too. I was very pleased with his actions in the court.
The outcome for this trial came out from the court on June 26th 2015 and I will try to make a short resume on this page from that judgement, but please understand that law text translated by ordinary layman can contain minor errors. (You would need to understand Finnish language in order to read the whole judgement here, a PDF file with the size of 1,4 MB.)
Here's the short resume of that court decision:
Vijanen was accused of breaking the copyright law on purpose or by outrageous negligence of his own. He was also accused of making copy piecies of my photograph without my consent and then presented these in public for sale. Viljanen did not also present the original author of the copy pieces the way good practise demands.
Viljanen naturally disclaimed the accusations in the court. He also said that he has used my capercaille photo partially for creating his painting, but he demands that his new painting created by old oil painting technic would make a new independent and original piece of art. He said that his painting differs with tens of details from my capercaillie photograph. His production would also differ from my photograph with coloration and over all impression from my ordinary photograph.
In the court there were lots of argumentation for and against opposite sides in this case and we also studied closely the differences between his painting and my photograph. Both opponents (official prosecutor and my lawyer mostly on behalf of myself vs. Viljanen with his attorney) got a good and neutral opportunity to present their facts and opinions on this case. I felt like my own opinions got a decent hearing in that court room too and that's the way Finnish legal proceedings work in practise and justice is dispensed.
After the trial we both went home and waited for the decision until June 26th. Then finally I could read the court decision, which was positive and on my side! The judge had considered all the facts in this case and decided that all the differences in Vijanen's oil painting were too minor compared to the overall impression from the similarity between these two items. Based on this fact Viljanen's painting should be considered as a piece of my photograph. The facts that Viljanen has pursued his profession so long and he has knowledge of copyright law proves out that he has breaked the copyright law on purpose or by outrageous negligence of his own. The last accused item of not presenting the original author was also proved to be true in this decision too.
All well, end is well, right? Not quite!!! Here in Finland both opponents have the opportunity to complain about the court decision in one month's period. The agonizing wait of over thirty days started and then finally in the end of July I heard from my lawyer that Viljanen has complained about the verdict and this case will be moved forward to Court of Appeal in Turku...
What can I say? One crucial battle won here in this "capercaillie fight against copyright violations in Finland". But who knows, maybe this case will become in the end some sort of test case of the borderline what can and cannot be done when creating art?
(Please don't held your breath waiting for new updates as waiting times for any case going to Court of Appeal here in Finland have been very l-o-n-g :-(
Sorry for the long delay on the updates for this web page.
Court of Appeal has handled this copyright violation case in the last spring 2016, but I have been too lazy (and partially unwilling too) to update this web page due to my personal life. Who wants to handle this kind of legal matters every day in his life when there are lots of other more pleasent stuff going on in any ordinary citizen's everyday life?
Here's the brief anyway and I'm happy to inform you, that the court decision was once again positive for myself and clearly on my side!
I try to write here a short resume of that court decision:
- In the spring of 2016 (8.4.2016) I received the invitation for the Court of Appeal in Turku and the trial hearing took place on April 26th 2016.
- Just like before, my role there in the court was to act as a witness for prosecutor in this on-going copyright violation case.
- The Court of Appeal decision for my case can be downloaded here: Tuomio_R15_1676_19052016.pdf
- For your convenience the English translation for Finnish Copyright law can be downloaded here: http://www.finlex.fi/en/laki/kaannokset/1961/en19610404.pdf
- Here's a Finnish language briefing of the important dates and events for this case (since 12/2013): Tekijanoikeusrikkomus_Viljanen.pdf
In the Finnish Copyright Act there are similar sections for photograph copyrights as in any European country's legislation. So this Finnish Copyright Act does not differ much from any other EU country's local Copyright Act. In the Court of Appeal's handling of this case the events went around the sections 49a and 56a mostly. Official prosecutor accused Viljanen for violating Section 56a (821/2005) when he had painted my capercaillie photograph into an oil painting.
On the other hand I myself as the photographer have the exclusive right to control a photographic picture, be it in an original form or in an altered form:
1) by making copies thereof;
2) by making it available to the public.
(As it has been stated in section 49a (446/1995) in that Copyright Act.)
Court of Appeal needed to decide, whether Viljanen's oil painting was a piece of my photograph OR is it an original and individual piece of art, which does not refer to originating photograph anymore. Well, you all know for sure how things are with Reijo Viljanen's all copy paintings!
In addition to this, there was lots of argumentation based on existing legal literature and previous decisions of copyright act. Court of Appeal made also detailed analysis of the former District Court's decision on this case.
The end result of this all was that Court of Appeal kept the previous District Court's judgement in tact and made no changes there. Great news!!!
End is well, right? Not quite, because there's still a way for this copy painter Viljanen to slither away from this situation :-(
Court of Appeal has a similar practise for making a complaints for these court decisions afterwards too (please don't come talking to me about the protection of the accused... arrgh!).
Anyway, there has been earlier a practise for these complaints and only less than five percentage of these complaints have been approved further to proceed into the Supreme Court. But, what do you know? This capercaillie case is moving next there, because Reijo Viljanen has complained successfully about the verdict he received from the Court of Appeal here in Finland.
Next stop - in the Supreme Court! That happens after couple of years or something like that, because case waiting times for the Supreme Court have been notoriously long too. But if you want to look on the bright side of this cloud; any Supreme Court verdict will be precedential and therefore important in the future for photograph copyrights! Cockfight continues... "Go on capercaillie, beat this copy artist Reijo Viljanen for the third and final time!!!" :-D
Here's the screen capture from Reijo's gallery web page, where my capercaillie photo is no longer visible among other copyright violating paintings by Reijo. This is because Kuvat.fi (image host service here in Finland) has blocked access to this controversial capercaillie painting. Something good about that Court of Appeal verdict.