Posts Tagged ‘sue’

9/11 Advertisement Pulled After Firefighter Threatens Lawsuit

Last November NYC firefighter Robert Keiley posed for a stock photograph that showed him covered with soot and holding a helmet. Despite signing a release when the image was made, he was shocked when he found an edited version of the photo in an advertisement show him holding a picture of the Twin Towers on 9/11. The ad read “I Was There”, and was for a law firm specializing in 9/11 lawsuits. Keiley, previously a model, didn’t join the fire department until 2004. Now, the agency behind the ad has pulled it after Keiley announced intentions to sue. The news clip above shows two lawyers debating this case. Your thoughts?

(via A Photo Editor)

Photographer and Civil Liberties Group Sue Department of Homeland Security

The New York Civil Liberties Union has teamed up with amateur photographer Antonio Musumeci in a lawsuit that challenges a federal ban on photography. Musumeci, a software programmer, filmed the arrest of a protester outside of the Manhattan Federal Court last year, and then was himself arrested.

Musumeci was standing in a public plaza when he was arrested, but he says a Federal Protective Service inspector told him that it was illegal to take photos. The inspector then made Musumeci sit on a sidewalk for 20 minutes while his camera and memory card were confiscated. He was then ticketed for “violating the regulation barring photography.” Though his ticket was later dismissed in court, his memory card has not been recovered.

The man returned to take footage at another protest, during which he deliberately stood on the public sidewalk, but says he was threatened with arrest once again.

Now the NYCLU has picked up Musumeci’s case to challenge the ban on photography near federal property by suing the Federal Protective Services, FPS Inspector Clifford Barnes, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Executive director of the NYCLU wrote in a statement:

“In our society, people have a clear right to use cameras in public places without being hassled and arrested by federal agents or police… We understand the need for heightened security around federal buildings, but the government cannot arrest people for taking pictures in a public plaza.”

New York law enforcement has a track record of misdealings with photographers after a 2009 arrest of an off-duty metro employee.

But if the UK Parliament’s recent reversal of the controversial Section 44 is any indication, the NYCLU’s lawsuit may stand a chance in US court.

Greek Man Sues Swedish Company over Turkish Yogurt Photo Use

Athanasios Varzanakos, a Greek man, is suing Swedish dairy company Lindahls for using his image on containers of Turkish-style yogurt. The $6.9m lawsuit alleges (in 40 pages, no less) that the image is misleading because the man has no connections whatsoever with Turkey.

According to BBC News, chief executive Anders Lindahl claims the photo was legally licensed from a stock library:

We bought it from a photo agency so we assumed that everything was in order

PDNPulse also sheds a little more light on the cultural aspect of this case:

The (hilarious) photograph doesn’t just have legal implications. The use of a Greek man’s likeness to promote a Turkish-style yoghurt is a cultural faux pas given the centuries-old conflict between the Greeks and Turks, which began when the Greeks gained their independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Despite the lawsuit, the photograph is currently still featured prominently on the Lindahls website. I can imagine why — this is publicity you can’t really pay for.

What do you think of this story? Should Varzanakos be awarded money for being portrayed as a Turkish man?

Public Art Lands Photog in Hot Water

In February 2008, Seattle-based photographer Mike Hipple received a letter from the lawyers of sculptor Jack Mackie that one of his stock photographs infringed upon Mackie’s copyright. Shown above, the photograph includes a portion of Mackie’s “Dance Steps on Broadway”, a public art piece created in 1979 with public funds.

Though the stock agency complied immediately with Mackie’s demands by removing the image and providing a settlement, Mackie is now suing Hipple for “copyright infringement and claiming the full measure of statutory damages, possibly $60,000 or more.” On the blog Hipple set up to collect defense fund donations, he states,

Now if this doesn’t qualify as fair use of the sculpture, I don’t know what does. “Fair Use” is a legal concept that allows a certain amount of copying of someone else’s work—you can get a fuller idea of how it works at the Stanford Fair Use Project website.

Think of it this way: if Mr. Mackie is correct and this isn’t fair use, then he can file a $60,000 law suit against anyone who, when strolling along Capitol Hill, thinks the dance steps are nice and takes a photo or video. He may not find you if you just leave the image on your camera or computer, but as soon as you post it to Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc., he can (and apparently will) sue you.

What do you think? Is this a case of copyright infringement or fair use?

(via A Photo Editor)


Image credit: Photo by Mike Hipple. Screenshot from Motion to Dismiss on Photo Attorney

Obama “Hope” Artist Faces Criminal Investigation Over Use of Photo

A judge announced this past Tuesday that artist Shepard Fairey is under criminal investigation for the improper use of Obama’s photograph in his iconic “Hope” poster. Fairey has spent months locked in a legal battle with the AP and photographer Mannie Garcia, who captured the original photograph. The AP demanded credit and compensation for the photograph, while Fairey believes his poster fits the definition of fair use.

The legal battle is actually a pretty complicated story. Fairey fired the opening shot by filing a lawsuit against the AP last February, asking for a ruling that his use of the photograph did not violate copyrights. Within a month the AP filed a suit of its own, claiming a violation of copyright.

The original photographer, Mannie Garcia, believes the copyright to the photograph is his own and not the APs, and was actually quoted saying,

If you put all the legal stuff away, I’m so proud of the photograph and that Fairey did what he did artistically with it, and the effect it’s had.

However, in July 2009, Garcia joined in the legal battle, siding with the AP in claiming copyright infringement, while accusing the AP of wrongfully claiming copyright to the photograph he shot.

Fairey’s downfall came in October 2009, when he admitted that he had destroyed and falsified evidence in the case, writing on his website,

In an attempt to conceal my mistake I submitted false images and deleted other images. I sincerely apologize for my lapse in judgment and I take full responsibility for my actions which were mine alone,

As a result of this revelation, his lawyers announced that they would no longer represent him in this case, and Tuesday’s announcement is simply the latest installment of this long, complicated, and ugly case.

The moral of the story? Get permission folks!