Temple Island Collection V. New
English Teas
The case of photograph infringement
Case Overview
• In November 2011, Temple Islands Collections, a
souvenir retailed, brought an action for copyright
infringement against New English Teas limited, for
having created an image which allegedly infringed the
claimants copyright.
• A copyright on “artistic work” of the Copyright
designs and Patents act 1988 was awarded to the
claimant in 2006. Where a photograph is to be
considered photographic work if they are the result of
the photographer’s personality which is reflected in
the arrangement of the photographic work.
Photograph being disputed
Above image 1: Claimant’s work
Images obtained
Above image 2: Defendant’s work
The Arguments
Temple Island Collections
• Here claims are made that
the defendant’s image
infringes their copyrighted
work. They claim that it
reproduces a substantial
part of their work as the
way in which the bus is
portrayed in front of the
houses of parliament is
inappropriately based on the
claimants work.
New English Teas
• Infringement is denied as they
argue that the claimant’s rights
lie in the originality of the work.
Hence, they believe that an
infringement has taken place
only if a substantial part of the
originality of the photograph
has been reproduced.
• The claimant cannot use
copyright law to give the
monopoly over the black and
white image of the Houses of
Parliament with a red bus in it.
Central Dispute
• The main issue in this matter is what exactly is the
scope of photographic copyright?
• Reference is made to 3 aspect in which there is room
for originality:
1. Specialities in shot angle, light/shade. Exposure
and effects due to filters or other techniques used
in developing
2. Creation of photographed scene
3. Being at the right place at the right time
According to His Honour Judge Birss:
The photograph is “the result of Mr Fielder's own
intellectual creation both in terms of his choices relating
to the basic photograph itself: the precise motif, angle of
shot, light and shade, illumination, and exposure and
also in terms of his work after the photograph was taken
to manipulate the image to satisfy his own visual
aesthetic sense”.
Court Decision
On January 12th 2012, the court ruled in favour of
Temple Island Collections Limited. His Honors Judge
Colin Birss ruled that “on the question of copying, I find
that the common elements between the defendant’s work
and the claimant’s work are causally related. In other
words, they have been copied… I have decided that the
defendants’ work does reproduce a substantial part of the
claimant’s artistic work. Hence, infringement has taken
place, with no permission to appeal for New English
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Temple Island Collection V. New English Teas