Apple has settled a lawsuit with Swiss photographer Sabine Liewald over the alleged misuse of a photograph of an eyeball that the Cupertino company used during a keynote presentation for its Retina MacBook Pro. News of the settlement came in an order of dismissal issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, January 3, but the terms of the deal are unclear at this point.
Liewald’s complaint said that Apple misused an image she owned by using it in promotional materials for its new Retina MacBook Pro. As you can see from the image above, Apple used it during a keynote that unveiled its new notebook last June. Although Apple did obtain rights to the image of a model’s eye, they covered “layout purposes only” — not commercial use.
Liewald’s suit was originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last October, and sought a trial by jury to determine the damages and potential lost profits. Again, it’s unclear what arrangement has now been made with Apple.
When Apple first unveiled the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro back in July of this year, they used two images to specifically highlight the incredible resolution of the new display. The first was a shot of a herd of zebras running through the grass captured by photographer Steve Bloom. And the second? A photograph of an eye in full Ziggy Stardust make-up, taken by Swiss photographe Sabine Liewald.
The only problem with that latter photograph? According to the photographer, Apple never properly licensed it to be used in Retina MacBook Pro marketing materials. And she’s now suing over it.
According to Liewald, Apple obtained the eye photograph from her agency, Factory Downtown, requesting a high-resolution version of the image for layout purposes only. Apple further emphasized to Factory Downtown that it had no intention of using the “Eye Closeup” photograph in the advertising campaign for the Retina MacBook Pro, then proceeded to do exactly that, featuring it prominently in the advertising campaign and keynote address.
The case was filed in the United States District Court for New York. It appears that Liewald wants damages including defendant’s profits, so she’s actually going for the throat here.
It sounds like a misunderstanding to us, but what’s up with Apple forgetting to pay the Swiss for their intellectual property lately?
Source: Patently Apple