Wins out of court settlement for SMOG Project copyright infringements.
Jewellery designer Farah Qureshi has secured an out of court settlement with Dutch firm the Smog Project after it used an image of one of her ring designs in an international PR campaign without permission.
Qureshi’s ring was described as a prototype by the company, which has developed a way to turn polluted Beijing air into stones that can be set in ‘Smog Rings’. The money raised from the project will fund Beijing’s first clean air park in 2015.
Neither Qureshi nor the original photographer, Agi Kolman, were credited in any way. The story was covered extensively on the Daily Mail and in the New York Times.
Qureshi commented: “The ring which I had made in gold, with a moonstone and coloured diamonds, had been given another name. It was being called The Smog Ring. It was being referred to as a prototype and the company were claiming copyright over the image. To begin with I felt disbelief and disappointment. There was no reference to either myself or photographer, Agi. After asking advice from industry professionals, I contacted ACID and the BJA.”
She continues: “Anti Copying in Design (ACID) were very helpful, they looked into the issue and made recommendations, they also have lawyers that they can put designers in contact with. However, as I am a member of the BJA, I decided to contact a law firm through them; as the BJA’s recommended law firm has specialised experience with the jewellery industry. The solicitor who I consulted was Stephen Welfare, who has experience in this area. Going down a legal route to achieve a resolution is a bit stressful and distracting, as there is no guarantee of an outcome and there could be potential expenses involved, especially if a case goes to court. It can also take up time, collating information, ultimately taking time away from the business.
“The outcome of the case for me was an out of court settlement. The opponent gave written undertakings to remove unauthorised images in both the Daily Mail and New York Times and will no longer use the image for future press releases. They also paid for the legal costs.”
Qureshi has now been invited to speak directly to representatives of the Dutch company when she attends the Sieraad trade event in Amsterdam.
She explains: “I am fortunate in that the copyright infringement was spotted and that I was able to take action. I feel a sense of relief that the case has now come to a close and that I have achieved a satisfactory resolution. It is also good that there are companies in the U.K who can help and support designers with regards to copyright infringement issues.”