Tuesday, June 05, 2007
An interesting Second Circuit decision last week involving the valuation of lost photographs. Photojournalist Arthur Grace's licensing agent, Sygma, lost more than 40,000 of his images. The question in the case was how to value the loss. The District Court decision, by Judge Chin, after rejecting "the industry's liquidated damages standard of $1,500 per lost transparency" because it would have led to the "absurd result" of a $60 million verdict, awarded Grace a total $472,000, composed primarily of $100 per image for 4,000 images (what Chin called "selects") and $1 an image for the other 36,000. The Second Circuit wasn't pleased with that methodology and so vacated the award and remanded for a new assessment of damages, "suggest[ing]" a methodology that focuses more on the present value of the future lost earnings from the missing photos. The decision is here. David Walker points out that the digital revolution may mean that this decision will end up being of largely historical interest.