Photographer Hits Getty With $1B Copyright Suit

Posted on 7/27/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Law360 reports that photographer Carol M. Highsmith has filed a copyright infringement suit in New York against Getty Images. Damages could be worth $1 billion.

Highsmith alleges that Getty is sending out letters demanding licensing fees for at least 18,755 of her photos that were donated to the Library of Congress. In the instance when Highsmith first became aware of the infringements, she received a “threatening communication” from a company associated with Getty Images demanding payment for the use of an image she had taken and used on the website of her nonprofit foundation.

The fact that had she donated the photo to the Library of Congress years ago means that it could be used free of charge by anyone. She has been donating photographs to the Library of Congress since 1988. Her work has been used on postage stamps and as wall art in movies and television shows including "House of Cards.”

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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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