Gentieu Sues TSI

Posted on 1/26/2000 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



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,

Eastern Division.

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

    additional fee;

  • 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

to find.

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

Copyright © 2000 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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