280 GENTIEU SUES TSI
January 26, 2000
Penny Gentieu has filed a copyright infringement action against Tony Stone Images
and Getty Images in the U.S. District for the Northern District of Illinois,
In her complaint she alleges that TSI failed to pay her $27,409.82.
This discrepancy between what TSI's own records establish as Licensing Sales, minus
cancellations, and what they have actually paid Gentieu was discovered in November
1999 during a partial audit of TSI's books.
She also alleges that:
- TSI failed to enforce her copyright by licensing sales to third parties and
not pursuing those third-parties when they used her images without permission and
without paying for Licensing Sales;
- permitted TSI's customers to cancel Licensing Sales long after the 30-day
period established in TSI's Licensing Regulations and that they debited the
Photographer's account for the full price of Licensing Sales instead of the
percentage of cancellation fees delineated in TSI's Licensing Regulations;
- reissued the licensing of images adding additional time to the usage for no
- permitted cancellations of Licensing Sales of Gentieu's images after the
licensing periods had terminated;
In addition Gentieu claims that she has loses because TSI failed to use it best
efforts to market her images. Specifically they placed only 92 of her 170 images
accepted in December 1997 in the 1998 "Compass" data base that TSI employees uses
to search for images in order to fill customer requests. The remaining 78 images
had no chance of being seen by customers.
On those images that were included in the database TSI applied fewer search terms
to her images than to those of other photographers making her images more difficult
As a direct result Gentieu experienced a drop in income from her 1997 level from
TSI of approximately $167,000. In 1998 it was $26,000 lower and in 1999 it was
$37,000 lower. Gentieu estimates that her sales should have almost doubled during
this period as a result of TSI's acceptance of more than double its per-1997
collection of her images.
Gentieu also reports that during the last two years the number of cancellations was
almost double what it had been in previous years.
Gentieu also claims that TSI failed to comply with the audit terms of her contract
and despite numerous communications from her, her attorneys and her accountant
obstructed here November 8-9, 1999 audit.
TSI provided a 113 page computer print out of her account, but when she asked to
see original records TSI could only produce 10 copies of Licensing Sales and
cancellations and these were expurgated to such an extent that she could not verify
their accuracy, not match the expurgated copies with TSI's other records.
In the court filing Gentieu's lawyer Patricia A. Felch has asked the court to
require TSI to comply with the audit terms of Gentieu's contract. In addition she
has asked the court to appoint a Special Master to audit TSI's books.
Penny Gentieu is an internationally recognized photographer of babies. She was
featured in an article in Photo District News in the January 2000 edition. Her
images can be seen at www.babystock.com.