Photographer’s Copyright double take
Photographer Jay Gorodetzer is a man with a lot of patience. Back in 1996, Jay was hanging out in a fancy restaurant and took a snapshot of two friends Guy Sileo and James Webb hugging each other. A couple months later Webb is murdered and Sileo is accused with the crime. , Jay permits the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspaper to publish his 1996 photograph but it must give him full credit of owning the photo (view the photograph and complaint below).
Jay is such a good photographer that the Inquirer later hires him as sports photographer for the newspaper. Sounds great right? But wait, there is a catch, in 2010 the Inquirer starts reproducing Jay’s photograph in news stories about Webb’s murder trial and does not give Jay Gorodetzer any credit! A lot has changed between 1996 and 2010, the Philadelphia Inquirer is now owned by a huge media giant called Philadelphia Media Network “PMN” which also owns the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com , so Jay’s photograph ends up being reproduced in numerous media outlets without his permission.
So for past two years, instead of filing a lawsuit, he has politely asked the Inquirer’s director of photography, vice president of operations and editor to give him credit for the photograph he took in 1996, everyone insisted that PMN owns the photograph and will not stop reproducing the image.
Remember how I mentioned that Jay was a patient man? Well, in 2012, 16 years after he takes the photograph, Jay finally registered his 1996 photo with the federal copyright office in order to get federal copyright ownership protection. Now he sues the PMN for copyright infringement on the basis that PMN kept on reproducing the photo without his permission. Note: Generally the photographer owns the copyright of the photographs that he takes, unless he is under contract as a work for hire.