Photographer Shaun Earl Harris is demanding R20m in compensation from the government for the unauthorised use of the decade-old photograph he took of President Nelson Mandela. According to a report on The Citizen site, Harris, who said he was taking the legal route to deal with ‘copyright infringement’, explained that in 2006 the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) purchased a licence to use the copyright protected photograph of Mandela in a book.

‘This licence was, however, limited to the one time use of the image in a book published and distributed in SA,’ he said.

Explaining the background, he said in 2013, the Mandela family approached GCIS, and asked to see all the images they had available of Mandela ‘as they were preparing for the worst since his health had already been deteriorating’. Harris said his photograph was chosen by the Mandela family as the official image.

The lensman, who said he was being represented by Andrew Boerner, of Jurgens Bekker Attorneys, has gathered hundreds of examples of the Mandela image being used locally and internationally without the necessary authorisation. He said he was claiming R20m as compensation for damages and loss of recognition, including royalties as a result of the widespread unauthorised use of the image. The matter is to be heard in the High Court.

Full report on The Citizen site