“How They Won It” – Law360 Profiles Willkie’s Landmark Victory in Copyright Infringement Case Involving Award-Winning Photos Posted on Social Media

December 20, 2013

Law360 profiles Willkie’s path to success in convincing a federal jury to find that digital media giants AFP and Getty Images acted willfully.

Willkie was featured in Law360’s monthly "How They Won It" series for winning a landmark case for client Daniel Morel, a photojournalist, in a high-profile copyright infringement case involving photos posted on social media.

On November 22, a jury returned a verdict of willful copyright infringement against the two digital media giants, Agence France Presse (AFP) and Getty Images, in the trial concerning the media companies’ distribution and sale of iconic images taken by Mr. Morel in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. It is believed that this is the first time these defendants, or any other major digital licensors, have been found liable for the willful violation of a photojournalist's copyrights in his own works. See Willkie’s November 25 announcement.The December 18 article, entitled "How They Won It: Willkie Fights For Haiti Photog," examines the firm’s path to success in convincing a federal jury to find that AFP and Getty Images Inc. willfully stole images and to award $1.2 million in damages. In the article, which includes a joint interview with partner Joseph Baio and associate Emma James, Law360 underscores that "attorneys from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP showed that preparation is everything," noting that the Willkie legal team was particularly challenged "by a number of pretrial motions filed by the other side to exclude explicit mention of various things during trial, like the fact that AFP, not Morel, had initiated the lawsuit."

In addition to the Law360 profile, Mr. Baio was also recently featured as the American Lawyer’s "Litigator of the Week" for his lead role in this victory.

Law 360’s "How They Won It" series profiles attorneys who had a major litigation, focusing on the win itself, its importance in the law and the strategy the lawyers used to achieve it. Mr. Baio and Ms. James were assisted by associates Teri Seigal and Maureen Kellett and legal assistant Monica Jones.