Rare Photographs Win Copyright Damage Award of $1.6 Million

The Third Circuit upheld actual damages of $1.6 million in a copyright infringement case involving stem cell images. Photographer, Andrew Paul Leonard, frequently licensed his stem cell images for up to $1,500 due to their rarity. Stemtech International, Inc. utilized two of Leonard’s works on their websites, and for other promotional materials, without license. Because of the registration timeline, Leonard was forced to argue for actual damages, which he was able to do by adopting the “fair market value” approach to damages. Leonard obtained the verdict of $1.6 million. Does the decision sets an unreasonable precedent for considering the rarity of works in calculating damages?