Photo agency accuses MKs of unauthorized use of pictures
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Photo agency accuses MKs of unauthorized use of pictures

Flash 90 says at least 20 lawmakers infringed copyright by using screenshots of images of themselves

MK Yoav Kisch seen during a meeting of the Finance committee in the Knesset on November 6, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
MK Yoav Kisch seen during a meeting of the Finance committee in the Knesset on November 6, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A photo agency contacted the Knesset House Committee on Monday claiming that numerous lawmakers had infringed upon its copyrighted materials.

Flash 90, an Israeli photojournalism agency used widely by media in Israel (including The Times of Israel) and abroad, complained that at least 20 lawmakers, from across parties, had used dozens or even hundreds of its images illegally on social media and elsewhere, Globes news reported.

Israeli law awards rights for images to the photographer, or the agency they work for. According to the report, MKs had taken screenshots of photos in which they had appeared and shared them widely.

The maximum fine for copyright infringement on photos is NIS 100,000 ($28,500) for each image used. Flash 90, like many other photo agencies, makes use of computer software to search for unauthorized use of its images.

Likud MK Yoav Kisch, who heads the House Committee, reportedly turned to various legislators to find a loophole to retroactively justify the use of the photographs. However, failing to do so, he told Globes that he is now looking to change the law to allow the photographs to be used.

He told the site that he wants to modify the existing law to allow screenshots of photographs to be included under fair use, provided they are not used for commercial purposes.

It is unclear how such a law change, which has not yet been presented to the relevant committee, would mitigate the existing claim from Flash 90.

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