French photo agency Gamma, now under the umbrella of Eyedea, recently lost a judgment for the lost of 9 210 originals. Catherine Leroy, Legendary war photographer, will receive 1,381,500 ( that is $ 2,108,909.49). About $228 dollars an image.
Catherine Leroy died in 2006 and was represented by her mother.
Yes, you have read this correctly. That is more than twice the price company Green Recovery paid Hachette to purchase Gamma, Rapho, Hoaqui, Jacana, Explorer and Top last year. The purchase price was rumored to be 600,000.00 or $900,000.00
Sipa has also been condemned to pay 1,200,000 ( about $1,8 Million) to photographer Gérard Gastaud for the lost of 43,331 of his originals. ( about $42.00 per image lost)
Apparently, if you are going to have your originals lost, you are better off moving to France first.
Seriously, however, neither agency would survive if they had to pay such penalty. Both are surviving right now and certainly cannot afford to part with more than $1 million dollar. Actually, besides Corbis, I do not know of any agency that could survive such a settlement.
I am all for compensating photographers whose images have been lost or mistreated. Especially legendary photographers like Catherine Leroy . However, I will question the intelligence of a judge who puts the settlement a such a high value that it endangers the jobs of 1,000′s of innocent people. Some common sense needs to also be applied here.
Both agencies have the right to appeal, which, in this case, I am sure they will certainly do.
More on these judgments here ( In French) : Photographie.com