Pearson Loses Attempt To Escape Jon Feingersh Infringement Suit

Posted on 12/7/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody denied Pearson Education Inc’s motion for dismissal of Jon Feingersh Photography Inc’s (JFPI) suit alleging the textbook publisher used dozens of his copyrighted photos in excess of the limited-use licensing rights the company had obtained.
Potomac, Md.-based JFPI sued Pearson in August, accusing the international textbook giant of deception from 1995 to 2010 by seeking limited use permission of approximately 50 copyright photos when the textbook publisher actually intended to use the photos in their mass-produced textbooks.

The limited licenses established restrictions on the number of copies, distribution area, language and duration, and format of use, according to the complaint.

"At the time Pearson represented to JFPI in its requests that it needed specified, limited licenses to use the photographs, Pearson often knew, from its prepublication plans and experience with prior editions, that its actual uses under the licenses would exceed the permission it was requesting and paying for," JFPI said.

The complaint points to similar copyright infringement proceedings against Pearson in which the company's representatives testified that the company regularly violated the terms of its licenses.

In these cases, Pearson's approach has been to argue that the various plaintiffs lack the necessary evidence to demonstrate the company's infringement "because Pearson, the sole source of information about its infringing users, refuses to disclose its uses," JFPI says.

Upper Saddle River, N.J.-based Pearson in September moved for dismissal of JFPI's case, arguing that the agency's complaint failed to adequately allege which photos the textbook company had allegedly infringed.

"Rather than identify specific instances of alleged use in excess of a license, JFPI identifies scores of photographs licensed to Pearson over a 15-year period and alleges infringement generally as to all photographs," Pearson said.

Plaintiff's attorney Maurice Harmon of Harmon & Seidman LLC told Law360 on Tuesday that Pearson "apparently believed it could commit the perfect crime: use copyrighted work without permission and then refuse to disclose it illegal uses to anyone."

But "Judge Brody was unconvinced of Pearson's arguments and said that under these circumstances Pearson should tell Feingersh the uses it has made of its copyrighted work in discovery and denied Pearson's attempt to pretend it is unaware of the claims against it," Harmon said.

The case is Jon Feingersh Photography Inc. v. Pearson Education Inc. et al., case number 2:11-cv-05122, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Copyright © 2011 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:  


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