Panoramic Images Awarded $403,500 For Copyright Infringement

Posted on 12/17/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

Panoramic Images has been awarded $403,500 in a copyright infringement case against educational publisher John Wiley & Sons. The publisher was found to have used 6 images outside the scope of the license agreement. The case was heard before a jury in the Federal District Court the Northern District of Illinois.

Recently we reported that in a jury trial Grant Heilman Photography Inc. was awarded $127,087 for the unauthorized infringing use of 53 images by McGraw-Hill Companies, another educational publisher. Grant Heilman brought this copyright infringement action in Federal Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Grant Heilman and Panoramic Images were both represented by the firm of Harmon & Seidman.

A key difference in the jury decisions in these cases was the fact that 5 of the 6 Panoramic Images were registered prior to infringement. In the Grant Heilman case none of the images were registered prior to the infringements and thus Heilman was limited to seeking actual damages, including profits and could not elect for statutory damages.

In both the Panoramic Images and Grant Heilman cases the publishers argued that the stock agencies should have known about “storm warnings” (general knowledge of excessive use of images by textbook publishers) or should have been on notice that the respective publishers were not complying with the license agreements prior to 2009.

Both juries rejected this argument. This is significant. If the publishers had been successful in making this claim it might have precluded making claims for other infringements that occurred prior to 2009, or three years before the suits were filed. In the Grant Heilman case there are almost 2,000 additional images still at issue.

In the Panoramic Images case the jury found that Wiley’s infringement of the 5 photographs was willful. The jury awarded damages of $62,500 each for 4 of the images, or a total of $250,000.

For one cover image, the excess use was substantial, and the jury awarded the maximum statutory damages of $150,000. For another individual image that Panoramic Images had not registered before the use, the jury awarded actual damages of $500 and profits of $3000.

McGraw-Hill has filed an appeal in the Grant Heilman case, but the judge has not ruled on it. Heilman is also waiting for the judge to rule on several post-trial motions. In the meantime, Heilman is preparing to go back to trial for the remaining claims in late spring 2015. There is likely to be an appeal in the Panoramic Images case.

Copyright © 2014 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 301-461-7627, 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:  


  • Bill Bachmann Posted Dec 17, 2014
    Get 'em guys. Make clients think more about sticking to the real agreements!

  • William Warren Posted Dec 20, 2014
    Hi Jim!

    Have a case pending myself against Wiley, newsworthy if it continues in the present direction. Stay tuned.

    Good to get your email, rejoin the fold. ScienceFaction was a good ride while it lasted. Jury's out on Superstock.

    ROI doesn't favor stock as a profession any more. Another byproduct of the hallowed Internet...

    Best wishes,


    www.phildevoid/wjw (beta)

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