What does it mean when a multi-billion dollar company allegedly ignores legal boundaries of copyright of a software company and widely uses and distributes pirated software within their business? Well a lawsuit, for one, but more importantly what does the dismissal say about the photographic/creative industry on a whole? More on that later.
Thus far, Adobe Systems Inc, has accused the retail monster that is Forever 21 of unlawful reproduction and distribution of certain Adobe software products, and filed suit. Interestingly, it seems Adobe has claimed that they even warned Forever 21 on the matter; a warning, it seems, Forever 21 would’ve done well to heed. The programs in question seem to be limited to Photoshop, Acrobat, and Illustrator, but the suit isn’t limited to only Adobe – Autodesk and Corel have become co-plaintiffs claiming that Forever 21:
- copied and reproduced certain of the Adobe Products, Autodesk Products, and Corel Products;
- and circumvented technological measures that effectively control access to the Adobe Products, Autodesk Products, and Corel Products (collectively, the ‘Access Control Technology’).
The companies filing suit have filed for the court to issue an injunction for compensation to cover lost revenue, court costs, and of course all manners of additional damages. It also appears Adobe has significant documentation on the violations, though it seems unclear as to how. It’s also not a stretch to believe that the suit will go in favor of Adobe, especially given the scale of revenue generation by Forever 21 which was just shy of $4 billion USD in 2014.
With a bankroll like that, you’d think a few thousand dollars, even ten or twenty would be like trifle – not even enough to go over the books should the balance sheet not balance. They’d be able to pay that, set a good example, and avoid a lawsuit and bad faith, and still do the Scrooge McDuck swim through their vast amount of coin.
Thoughts For Photography…
While I personally can’t see anyone defending Forever 21 other than those hired to do so – what may be more interesting than the suit is what their utter dismissal of copyright indicates about views towards the creative industry.
Undervalued, is the term that comes to mind. And irrelevant. It’s so frustrating that these massive companies view the creative and photographic world and its members as non-essential and inconsequential in today’s world. The New York Times just posted images to their front page that they plucked from Instagram, without permission; my images are being used by a camera retailer to sell their gear without my permission, yours too probably; and the list of these stories goes on so long it would make War & Peace look like a Haiku. So when a huge company does something like this, it just seems to re-enforce the idea that this field is there to take advantage of.
When did photography and its creative associations become so insignificant? How can this be combated? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.