South Africa: Photographer Demands R20m from Government for Mandela Picture

Image Credit: Hongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang)

Shaun Earl Harris, a photographer has demanded for R20 million (approximately USD 1.4 million) as compensation from the South African government for the use of his decade-old photograph of former South African President Nelson Mandela without his authorization.

According to the photographer, he is taking legal steps to address the copyright infringement after several attempts to engage with the South African government yielded no results.

The photographer has reportedly stated that in 2006, the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) purchased a license to use the copyright protected photograph of Mandela in a book. However, the license was for a one time usage of the image in a book published and distributed in South Africa.

Harris said his photograph was chosen by the Mandela family as the official image of the former president following his death on December 5, 2013. The family had approached GCIS to provide all the images they have available of Mandela and GCIS included his photograph without first obtaining the necessary authorization.

Harris is demanding R20 million as compensation for damages and loss of recognition, including royalties as a result of the widespread unauthorized use of the Mandela image.

It will be recalled that GCIS a couple of years ago acknowledged the claims made by Harris and said a resolution with Harris was in the works.

This case has been registered as Number: 94293/2016.

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About Nathaniel Adebayo 567 Articles
Nathaniel is a News Reporting Intern at Nigerian Law Intellectual Property Watch (NLIPW). He has a passion for writing, capacity building and social media marketing. He is a graduate of Federal University of Technology, Minna, where he graduated with BTECHAGRIC. He is a member of Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN) and the National Union of Campus Journalist (NUCJ). Nathaniel has served as Editor-in-Chief for a number of magazines and as a contributor to various online repositories. Email: