Singapore-The High Court found that two hotel management companies infringe the copyrights of US companies on photos of various luxury hotels.
A company that is part of the General Hotel Management Group (GHM) used photos from issue 12 of the group’s magazine.
They alleged in a lawsuit that the owner of the hotel owns the copyright of the photo.
However, Judge Mavis Chionh objected on Thursday (June 16th) by ruling that the company founded by entrepreneur and designer Lee KarYin is the copyright owner.
GHM manages, operates and promotes luxury hotels and resorts around the world. Current properties include Swiss Chedian Andermatt.
Lee, who has been working here in the creative industry since 1990, has set up various companies to carry out her work. They include The Wave Studio, which was founded in the United States to retain and manage intellectual property rights to her literary and works of art.
Between 1995 and 2008, Lee and her three companies engaged in GHM to provide different services to the different hotels managed by the group. These services included hotel marketing, branding, and promotional material creation.
In the process of creating the material, the company hired a contractor to take a picture of the hotel. These images were then edited by Ms. Lee before being delivered to the hotel and one of the defendants. It was incorporated into the British Virgin Islands (BVI), but has its main office in Singapore.
At some point in 2012, Ms. Lee discovered that some of the photos contained in the material were posted on the websites of several online travel agencies.
She later discovered in 2013 that the photo was also used in the 12th issue of GHM magazine. You can download these magazines from their website.
Problems with these magazines could also be found on other websites owned or operated by GHM companies, and copies were distributed to hotels managed by BVI companies and their guests.
Wave Studio then sued various companies, including the BVI company, for copyright infringement in the United States.
A US court subsequently dismissed BVI’s allegations against the company and ruled in 2017 that Singapore was the appropriate forum for determining the copyright owner of a photo.