AFP v. Morel: Both parties moving for summary judgment

Freelance photographer Daniel Morel, Agence France-Presse and Getty Images are now moving for a summary judgment in the two-year-old case

The high-profile case pitting freelance photographer Daniel Morel against Agence France-Presse and Getty Images is continuing, BJP understands, as all parties are now filling papers for summary judgment.

In US law, the purpose of summary judgment is to avoid unnecessary trials when the facts of the case are not in dispute. BJP has learnt that photographer Daniel Morel and AFP and Getty Images have until 05 April to file with the court their Joint Statement of Undisputed Material Facts.


Then, on 20 April, the court, led by Judge William H Pauley III, will convene to set a briefing schedule, which could lead to AFP’s and Getty Images’ defense to be dismissed, setting the stage for Morel to claim damages for the unauthorised used of his images.

In December 2010, the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York declined AFP’s requests to dismiss Morel’s claims against the agency. Morel accused the agency of benefiting from the illegal distribution of images he took of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and posted on Twitter.

AFP, on the other hand, accused Morel of engaging in an “antagonistic assertion of rights,” and has also sued the photographer. However, in its December 2010 ruling, the court found that the photographer could go ahead with his claims based on the Copyright Act and the Millennium Copyright Act – a decision that significantly strengthened Morel’s case.

Keep up-to-date with the leading voice in contemporary photography