Australian artist Richard Bell successfully won a case against a filmmaker requesting the removal of a film about him on Vimeo. His lawyers have stated that it is "the first time damages have been awarded where a third party had content removed from the Internet without legal justification."
The law firm representing Bell, King & Wood Mallesons confirmed that Bell "...engaged Tanya Steele to assist him" in making the film. Steele replied that she owned the copywright to the film, named "The Blackfella's Guide To New York"*. Following Bell's dispute to the claim, Steele removed the film from Vimeo.
Produced as a marketing tool, Bell commonly makes films as part of his promotional work. His argument in court claimed that by not being able to show his film, his business would suffer - leading to lower sales. As with Bell's artistic profession, any intellectual property dispute has the potential to damage his reputation.
Bell also claimed that the film was made as a personal memoir, to be shared with his friends and peers - yet by preventing him from showing the film, he felt his prospective viewers were denied the chance to appreciate the nine months of labour put in to producing the film.
John Swinson of King & Wood Mallesons explained: "This is the first time damages have been awarded where a third party had content removed from the Internet without legal justificiation. Even though the Vimeo file was hosted outside of Australia, its improper removal caused Mr Bell significant damage in Australia. The court compensated Mr Bell for this loss," to the amount of $AUD147,000.
- The term "blackfella" is used as a self-descriptive definition amongst Australian Aboriginals, bearing no prejudicial connotation
Source: The Register