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.

Related story: Public Outcry Stalls Lawsuit Over Portraits of Tucson Shooting Victim

10 Responses to “Fair Fee for Photo of Arizona Shooting Victim? Or Price Gouging?”

  1. Tweets that mention PDN Pulse » Blog Archive » Fair Fee for Photo of Arizona Shooting Victim? Or Price Gouging? -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Photo District News and kewlfocus, Katrin Eismann. Katrin Eismann said: There are two sides to this story RT @pdnonline: Did photog demand too much for Tucson victim pics? #Photog faces wrath http://bit.ly/eHnDQJ [...]

  2. WiderAngle Says:

    My initial reaction to this story was outrage – one can respect a photographer’s copyright to an image, but certainly in this instance – heart should have replaced fee entitlement.

  3. Shannon Fagan Says:

    Is commercial art insular and not subject to the rules of a free market in the United States? Is Gannet Co. insular not subject to intellectual property protection and copyright regulations in the United States?

  4. Matti Says:

    “Heart” is non-existent for people who come from such cults. He comes from the same cult whose philosophy was outlined by their leader, Baron Rothschild who coldly advises its members: “When there is blood in the streets, buy property.”

  5. Public Outcry Causes Photographer to Drop Copyright Lawsuit Says:

    [...] after they showed a portrait he made of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, the youngest victim and demanded $125,000 from one newspaper for publishing the image. It soon came to light that Wolf rushed to register [...]

  6. cosmic|techie » Public Outcry Causes Photographer to Drop Copyright Lawsuit Says:

    [...] after they showed a portrait he made of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, the youngest victim and demanded $125,000 from one newspaper for publishing the image. It soon came to light that Wolf rushed to register [...]

  7. kareem Says:

    Expensive :)

  8. Ottmar Says:

    As a Canadian watching this unfold in a litigious society, kudos to the slimy photographer.
    America produces more lawyers than Japan who produces more engineers than lawyers.

  9. dbltapp Says:

    He did everything by the book. This a legal issue, not a moral one.

  10. Michael Says:

    What some of us failed to mention is that the newspaper (AND other subsequent publications) I am certain made a KILLING selling the story WITH the valuable image.