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Ricky Ponting To Take Legal Action Against App Developer For Using Photo: Report

Australian Cricket player, Ricky Ponting might initiate action against Indian app developer, AHI Infotech, for using his pictures in one of its app – Face Guess Cricket, reports Herald Sun. James Henderson, Ponting’s manager has said that he would take action against the developer for the use of Ponting’s intellectual property without prior permission. The report points out that the app also features other cricketers including Glenn McGrath, Steve Waugh and Shane Warne. The app displays a part of the celebrity’s face, asking the user to guess his name. The developer offers similar apps, each priced at $0.99, featuring bollywood celebrities, footballers and tennis players, and its website lists the following:

– Face Guess – Footballers
– Face Guess Bollywood – Female
– Face Guess Bollywood – Male
– Face Guess Tennis – Female
– Face Guess Tennis – Male
– Face Guess Cricket

A couple of things:

Who owns IP rights for pictures? It’s not clear whether the photographs featured in the applications have been licensed for use by AHI Infotech, but if they were licensed for use from a media publication or a photographer, would the celebrity be in a position to actually sue? If an on-ground photographer captures a cricketer and chooses to make the image available for public use (royalty free), would the Cricketer still hold rights over the image? We’re not sure of what the law in this case is, but this does appear to be commercial use of a photograph in an application.

Do all app developers really honour IP rights? This is just one instance, but surely there would be hundred other jigsaw puzzle or wallpaper apps using copyrighted images, icons, logos and other material on different platforms. Of course respective marketplaces inform developers about copyright infringements in their Terms and conditions.  In fact there have been instances when App Stores have ejected apps on complaints of copyright violation. But to do a thorough check on each one before approval, might not be a feasible proposition.

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