Croatian Euro coin design withdrawn over copyright claims by Scottish photographer

A new Croatian coin design has been withdrawn amid copyright claims it featured a photo taken by a Scottish photographer which was used without his permission.

Iain Leach, 63, who has had his work published in National Geographic, took a photograph of a pine marten standing on a tree branch on June 8 2005, in Scotland.

He was baffled to be told that a near-identical picture had won a competition for a new one Euro coin, to be launched next year when Croatia joins the Euro.

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The design has now been pulled by the designer who submitted it to the Croatian National Bank.

The contributor was awarded a prize of 70,000kn - almost 10,000 Euro - which has now reportedly been handed back.

Iain, from Dumfries and Galloway, said he has no resentment towards the designer who submitted the picture, and believes he has learned his lesson.

The retired consultant histopathologist said he has no plans to sue and wished Croatia well in choosing a new design.

Croatia's design for a Euro coin and Iain Leach's photo.Croatia's design for a Euro coin and Iain Leach's photo.
Croatia's design for a Euro coin and Iain Leach's photo.

Iain said: "I have only recently been made aware of the design for the new one Euro coin which depicts a pine marten.

"I am told the design was chosen as part of a competition to design the new coins.

"It has been pointed out that the design is almost identical to one of my photographs which appears on my website, which was taken on June 8 2005 in Scotland.

"I have never been approached by anyone to ask for permission to use the image for the coin design.

Photographer Iain LeachPhotographer Iain Leach
Photographer Iain Leach
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"My photographs are protected by copyright and may not be used without my permission.

"I have not received any official notification that my image has been used.

"I have not received any fee or payment or prize money for the use of my photo.

"I cannot afford to use a lawyer in Croatia to take this any further.

"If my photograph is to be used as the basis for the design of the one Euro coin, I think it is reasonable to expect that I should be paid a fee for permission to use it.

"I am aware there is publicity in Croatia regarding this.

"Perhaps the organisers of the competition will get in touch with me to discuss this further.

"I do not mind the photograph being used for the coin and would be pleased to see it there.

"However, I would like to be acknowledged officially as the photographer and to receive a fee for it's use.

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"I also do not think the person who stole my photograph should be rewarded nearly 10,000 Euros for something copied.

"I heard that the design for the 1 Euro coin has been withdrawn. I have yet to hear from the Croatian National Bank.

"The designer realises now that he has made a mistake and I am pleased the design has been withdrawn.

"I am not going to sue anybody.

"The right decision has been made and I am happy with the outcome."

He added: "I hope you get a nice new design for your new one Euro coin.

"I would like to thank everyone in Croatia who got in touch with me and for all the help and support from the media."

The Croatian National Bank has been approached for comment.

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