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Judge throws out copyright claim against Rod Stewart


July 16, 2019

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Chelmsford County Court has ruled that a claim for copyright infringement brought against Rod Stewart fails due to a lack of evidence. Julia McLellan brought the claim against "Sir Rod" after a photograph for which she purportedly owns the copyright was used in the video backdrop for his performance at BBC2’s Live in Hyde Park.


The photograph was taken by Sir Rod’s school friend, Christopher Southwood. Mrs. McLellan alleged she acquired the copyright to the photograph 15 years ago as part of a collection of photographs sold to her by Mr. Southwood in 2004.


Judge Simon Mitchell found that such a claim was “highly speculative”, as the claimant had not established that the photograph used in the show was in fact part of the collection for which she had acquired the copyright.


Mrs. McLellan believes her £9,999 claim was dismissed prematurely, claiming that sufficient evidence to establish her ownership of the copyright would have been easy to garnish had she known the issue would come into question: “We could have got a witness statement from Mr. Southwood confirming that he took the photograph if we had known beforehand that it was necessary, but this was the first time after several hearings this point had been raised”.

Authors: Jaclyn Tilak and Sasha Seeber

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