Essex

Rod Stewart wins photograph copyright case

Rod Stewart performing
Image caption Sir Rod's legal team stated the image was one of hundreds used and it appeared for only eight seconds

A journalist who claimed Sir Rod Stewart used an image without her permission has had her case thrown out.

Julia McLellan was seeking £9,999.99 from the singer over an alleged breach of copyright.

She claimed Sir Rod, 73, was not authorised to use a picture of him with a former girlfriend as a gig backdrop.

Chelmsford County Court ruled she had not provided enough evidence to show that the image was part of a collection sold to her in 2004.

The photograph in dispute dates from the 1960s and had never been published until it was used on a video backdrop at BBC2's Live in Hyde Park: A Festival in a Day concert.

It was taken by Sir Rod's school friend, Christopher Southwood, but Mrs McLellan said she acquired the copyright 15 years ago.

'Highly speculative'

She claimed Mr Southwood gave Sir Rod a copy of the photograph as a keepsake but not for commercial use.

Sir Rod's legal team stated the image was one of hundreds used and it appeared for only eight seconds.

Mrs McLellan, from Hatfield Peverel, Essex, said she repeatedly asked Sir Rod's lawyers for a fee to cover the use of the image in 2015, but they refused.

She took action on behalf of McLellans agency, which she runs with her husband John, after efforts to settle the matter failed.

Judge Simon Mitchell ruled Mr Southwood had assigned his entire collection of Rod Stewart photographs to Mrs McLellan in 2004, but no evidence had been provided to show the photograph in question was part of the collection.

He said: "The claimant has first of all to prove the photograph is what it is. I fear in all the heat and attention generated in this case, the claimant has neglected this."

He added he considered it a "highly speculative claim".

Mrs McLellan said: "We could have got a witness statement from Mr Southwood confirming that he took the photograph if we had known beforehand that it was necessary, but this was the first time after several hearings this point had been raised.

"In the circumstances I think we should have been given a short adjournment in which to get such a statement but we weren't."

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