Copyright Case for Poet’s Pictures/Bristol Poet’s Statue Damaged – Poetry News Roundup June 12th

We end the week here on My Poetic Side with a look at the lawsuit over photographs of Dylan Thomas. We also have a short article about the damage to a poets statue in Bristol.

Welsh Government Dealt Blow over Copyright Claim for Poets Pictures

Back in 2015, the Welsh Government was sued by Pablo Star Ltd, a company claiming that is owned the American copyright to two photos of Dylan Thomas the Welsh poet. They claimed that the photos were used for tourism purposes without their permission.

The case for copyright infringement is now planned to go to trial in New York following a decision this week by the Second Circuit of the US Court of Appeals decision to allow a trial to take place following the discovery of some rare photographs that were found not to be protected by sovereign immunity. The photos in question are of the poet and his wife they were taken by a friend of the couple following their wedding in 1937 in Cornwall.

The photos appeared in 2012 in the Visit Wales tourism site the lawsuit stated, and they were then used in further marketing that was targeted at the American market. The lawsuit alleges that the Welsh Government at the beginning of 2014 commenced using the photos which were unauthorised copies in a range of promotional literature in a way that was directed at New York residents and designed to entice them to come to Wales.

The marketing campaign was found to be within the “commercial activity” exception stated in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act by a panel of three judges on Monday. Whilst it was felt that the actions of the Welsh Government advanced a sovereign purpose that was “legitimate” in order o enhance the image of the country it had done so in a way that was the same as any business in the private sector who was hoping to make a profit from advertising.

The plaintiff is looking to recoup fees that have been lost from licensing as well as damages that relate to the use of the two photos.

The Welsh Government had moved for the case to be dismissed on that grounds that commercial activity exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act did not apply as its marketing strategy was an “inherently governmental” function.”

Since the ruling was made a spokesperson has stated that they will continue to defend their position on the matter but that they are very disappointed with the outcome.

Bristol Statue of Black Poet Attacked

Police in Bristol are investigating following an attack on a statue of the poet Alfred Fagon. The bust of the Jamaican born poet and actor is believed to have been defaced with some form of corrosive substance, possibly bleach.

Police received reports about the incident shortly before the statue of Edward Colston, the slave trader was retrieved from the harbour where it was dumped during the Black Lives Matter protests at the weekend.

The police are appealing for witnesses in order to investigate the matter further. The bust is being examined to decide if the substance has caused any permanent damage.

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