Friday, November 12, 2010

Photographer Sues State Of Texas For Using Image From His Photograph On Auto Inspection Stickers

Jon Snow points us to the story of a photographer who discovered that a photograph he took of a cowboy hoisting a saddle is being used as the background image on approximately 4.5 million inspection stickers:
inspection sticker
According to the report, the state had prison inmates create the stickers, and one simply scanned the image out of a "Texas Parks & Wildlife" magazine and used it as the background image. The photographer tried to get the state to pay up, but it refused, leading to the lawsuit. As Snow notes, this certainly might make you wonder what the statutory damages would be on 4.5 million instances of infringement? Of course, some of this may depend on the terms under which the original photo was licensed for the magazine (and if the magazine is a state run operation). Also, I could see the state claiming "sovereign immunity," which has become popular for state governments when they're accused of patent and copyright infringement claims. You see kids, when governments infringe, it's no big deal. But when regular everyday citizens do so, they should be forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars, apparently. Seems perfectly fair, right?

Sent from James' iPhone

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