This Photographer is Suing The SA Government For R2.1 Billion Over His Photo of Nelson Mandela
Photographer Shaun Harris sues the South African government's communication agency over a photo of Mandela taken in 1999.
Photographer Shaun Harris is suing South Africa's Government Communication Information System (GCIS) for using his image of the late struggle hero, Nelson Mandela, without proper copyright clearance, City Press reports.
The GCIS reportedly used the image as the official photo at Mandela's funeral. They had bought some rights for the image. The infringement started when the image was sent out for public use after Harris and PictureNet's credits were removed. PictureNet used to be Harris' agents.
The case has been going on for three years—it started in 2014 when Harris sued the CGIS for R20 million over the use of the image.
The largest copyright infringement claim involving a South African artwork – R2.1 billion for a photograph of Nelson Mandela – is again before the high court in Pretoria and heading for a costly showdown with the state https://t.co/t46HGXODZVpic.twitter.com/5K8DQzkt5e
— City Press Online (@City_Press) 25 February 2018
According to City Press, PictureNet recently shared a report with the court which reveals the image was used at least 2.1 million times around the world, and penalized each at R10,000, which totals up to the R2.1 billion (approximately $181 million).
The photo was taken in 1999 when Mandela met former UK prime minister Tony Blair.
Phumla Williams, acting director-general of GCIS, was quoted by the paper as saying, "This case has gone to and fro and he has changed lawyers several times. We asked Harris repeatedly to prove his claims, which he never could."
But after she was told about the new report, she said, "If there is now proof, then we will take it from there."