Fair Fee for Photo of Arizona Shooting Victim? Or Price Gouging?
The Arizona Republic is reporting that Tucson photographer Jon Wolf and his attorney, Ed Greenberg of New York, demanded $125,000 from the newspaper’s owner for unauthorized use of Wolf’s image of Chrstina-Taylor Green.
Green was the nine-year-old girl killed in Tucson on January 8 when a gunman opened fire on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a supermarket. Numerous media outlets, including The Arizona Republic, published Wolf’s portraits of Green without permission.
An attorney for Gannett Co., which owns The Arizona Republic, says in the newspaper’s report that Gannett “respects intellectual property” and will pay a “standard licensing fee” for its use of the photo. The Gannett attorney doesn’t specify what that fee will be, but says it will be “far shy” of $125,000.
Wolf and Greenberg have been taking a beating in the Tucson media for their efforts to collect fees from media outlets all over the country that used Wolf’s image without permission.
A week ago, Greenberg told PDN he believed that the unauthorized use of Wolf’s images by media outlets around the country was “the most expansive infringement of a photographer’s copyright in history by far.” He was poised to file suit in federal court on Wolf’s behalf to force the Associated Press, The New York Times, AOL, The Wall Street Journal and a number of other media outlets to pay up. But in the face of harsh criticism–including a public dressing down from Christina-Taylor Green’s family–Wolf announced on his blog earlier this week that he wouldn’t file suit just yet.
Wolf is feeling the backlash on Facebook. More than 1,200 people have endorsed a call on the social networking site for a boycott of his business.
Tucson’s ABC affiliate, KGUN, has aired several reports which have helped stoke public sentiment against Wolf and Greenberg. The station has described Greenberg as the New York attorney Wolf hired “to shake money out of some media outlets.”
The station has also depicted Greenberg and Wolf as being in a rush to profit from the photo by registering copyright the first business day after the shootings took place, and by getting the Green family to sign a release on that same day to license the photo to the media.