The Zborovsky district court of the Ternopil region held 125 thousand hryvnias ($4.7 thousand) of compensation for copyright infringement in favor of the owner of the HaHusky digital comics character, and also obliged the infringer to transfer the rights to the Instagram page.
The HaHusky project is a sarcastic digital comic about the life and adventures of a dog named Karl and his friends, created by a Belarusian citizen in 2018. The comic was distributed through specially created pages on social networks exclusively under the author’s same-name pseudonym. For today, there are more than 2 mln subscribers of those pages.
Since 2019, Ukrainian OMG AGENCY LLC, based on an agreement on the transfer of intellectual property rights, has rights to the characters of the HaHusky project, as well as to all works created using such characters.
In November 2019, the owner found out about the Instagram page, on which the author’s works of the project are published without the consent of the author or copyright owner. 180 publications were created using the characters of ‘HaHusky’, as well as recorded the fact of offering paid placement of publications on the page – from 500 to 1700 UAH.
The plaintiff recorded the fact of payment to the bank card of the owner of the Instagram page, screenshots of the page, and correspondence with the owner. Before filing a lawsuit, OMG AGENCY LLC proposed to resolve the dispute in the pre-trial procedure but was refused.
The defendant indicated that she posted pictures with characters for personal purposes, and also always stated the main account of the authors of the project and left links to it. It was impossible to indicate the name of the author, as there was no information about the author’s real name in open sources.
Based on the fact that the owner of the Instagram page did not receive consent to use the characters for commercial use, the court fully satisfied the lawsuit.