Birdseye View Photography, Perth Western Australia

Severne/Starboard retailer loses court case!

Photographers in this day and age are confronted with many new issues and copyright is one of the main problems facing them, over the last year or so we had a court case that just shows what people will do when they don’t want to pay for something.  On April 29th 2015 we won our case against this business, here is our story:
I’ve been asked quite a bit lately how my copyright court case against Severne/Starboard retailer Esperance Sail and Surf is going. Well, in Fremantle Magistrates Court today James McCarthy Price and David Price were found guilty of using a photo without permission, a photo taken at the 2014 Australian Wavesailing Titles and ordered to pay compensation including costs.

It’s been 14 months since the event so here’s the full story on how Severne/Starboard guys operate when they want something but refuse to pay.

First up: I organised and paid for a helicopter at the event for 2 days, not cheap but with great pilot friends we arranged something at a reasonable price, the only thing was that all images had to be paid for if used. Secondly, 99% of all windsurfers I deal with are unreal people who ask permission every time, just a pity this sport has a small group of assholes.

The day after the event James McCarthy Price contacted me to buy a photo (print) then several hours later said he was writing a story for Severne and wanted to use some photos. He was told the images aren’t free and must be paid for. He said no then decided to contact Ben Severne see if he will pay for them, which he refused.
I told him again to not us the images. He then offered me a photoshoot (2015 Australian Wavesailing Titles) in return for the photos. This is an old Severne scam where they promise future work but never deliver – I refused again to let him use the images. He then called me asking for permission to use them and once again I told him if he uses the photos he will face legal action.
The next day I checked his Facebook page plus the Esperance Sail & Surf page and there was my photos being used. Messages were sent to James and ESS to remove them, James didn’t remove his but David Price replied from the ESS page saying the photo is great and send him an invoice, he will pay. After sending him an invoice all I got back was abuse plus he didn’t remove it when told.

He refused to pay the invoice so eventually it went to court. David Price initially admitted guilt and offered $100 to us which I refused. Not long after he changed his plea to not guilty. Instead of just going to trial David Price lodged multiple adjournments and applications one of which was to have an agent act on his behalf. In this court no lawyers are allowed so when David Prices “agent” turned up it he was found to be a lawyer, but actually an unlicensed lawyer, so was banned from the court. We came back to court a month later and David Price turns up with his “agent” again and was once again ordered from the court. I then received a phone call from the legal practice board who wanted all my documents relating to this lawyer as they were now investigating him.

I heard all the excuses in the last 14 months, from the photos being too expensive to them allowed to us the photos because James was a competitor to a whole heap of Facebook excuses.
Then today just before the trial started James tried to have it postponed again but the judge wouldn’t allow it. The judge refused to accept any Facebook evidence and quickly found James McCarthy Price and David Price used the photos without permission and ordering them to pay me compensation with costs.

All this for someone who didn’t want to pay for a photo and used it without permission instead. Since this story has surfaced I’ve been contacted by 15+ people who have been ripped off by Severne/Starboard and they just wanted to share their story with me.

Lastly – This isn’t the first time James McCarthy Price has used imagery without permission from us, 9 months before this he illegally downloaded 2 of our movies ( Windsurf Australia & Sandy Point Speed) re-edited them and put his own name on the new movie. He then entered the video into a contest and won $2,000!

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