Getty, AEF Ordered to Pay French Photographer More Than $1M

Getty, AEF Ordered to Pay French Photographer More Than $1M
French courts have ordered Getty Images and the Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF) to pay French photographer Alain Ernoult more than $1 million for marketing some of Ernoult's images without his permission, Agence France-Presse reports via Artforum. Ernoult signed a contract with AEF to market his photography from 1993 to 1999; he was also a major shareholder in the company, and in 1995 he gave up his shares to the Image Bank France, which was subsequently bought by Getty Images.

In 2001, Ernoult took AEF to court for a number of charges, including marketing his photographs after his contract had expired. The next year, a Paris judge ruled in his favor and decided that an expert should calculate the damages photograph by photograph. The total sum has been concluded at more than $1.29 million, with Getty being fined nearly $600,000 for "marketing some of his photographs for advertising ends — ads for Toshiba, Peugeot, or Air France — in violation of the agreement signed with him."

The French judge also ruled that the use of the pictures for advertising purposes damaged Ernoult's "heritage rights," "banalized his work," and prevented him for profiting from the works himself.