Rip-off or not: Makers of Russian movie Yolki 8 accused of copying "human Christmas tree" photo concept
Social media is filled with photos and videos used by people who do not seek permission from the original creators. Most recently, for example, a Russian production house was pinpointed as having copied the original concept of a photographer without bothering to tweak the original concept even slightly.
In December 2015, photographer Stig Havard Dirdal was hired by the Norwegian camera store Stavanger Foto to come up with a creative idea for their official Christmas card. He created the concept of a "human Christmas tree", which later went viral on the web.
He later realised that the same photo was being widely misused and eventually decided to get it registered in the United States in 2018.
In 2021, the Russian production house Bazelevs Productions released a comedy movie, Yolki 8, that was promoted and shown in Russia, Europe, and North America. The poster for this movie closely resembled Dirdal’s "human Christmas tree" concept.
Dridal, known for his creative and unusual photos, had been contacted by many companies in the past to re-use this photo idea, but he rejected many of those offers as he does not believe in using the original idea again.
As he believes that photographers make a living from their creative ideas, he made efforts to contact the Russian production house but received no response. So, he tried another tack and has garnered media attention from Norway, Europe, and Russia to alert people about the theft of his idea.
He even took a creative approach and asked the people who watched Yolki 8 to publicly indicate how much he should demand in return for his copyright from the production house. He has stated that his goal is not to make money but to make people aware that creativity must not be misused.