Should You Pursue Educational Publisher When They Infringe?

Posted on 9/7/2012 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

When you discover that a large educational publisher has made extensive use one of your images beyond the rights they licensed is it wise to try to collect for the unauthorized use? In a recent discussion on the forum it was pointed out that publishers often “blacklist” suppliers who try to collect for unauthorized use. Thus, it was argued that it may be better to accept a loss on one sale in hopes that in the years ahead you’ll make it up through additional sales to that same publisher.

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Copyright © 2012 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:  


  • Charles Cecil Posted Sep 7, 2012
    I agree with Peter Dean. I discovered that a major publisher had used my images, previously licensed to the firm, in an entirely new publication without seeking a new license from me. My posture toward the company was to treat the incident as an administrative oversight, but a serious one requiring appropriate compensation in exchange for a retroactive license. I considered joining a class-action suit against the publisher that was then in the works (and still is, I believe), but I opted for the more conciliatory approach. For whatever reason, the company settled with me by paying the regular price, plus three times extra. Without going back to research my files, I'm pretty sure that the extra amount exceeded everything I had received from that publisher in the previous several years. And I got it quickly, within a few months at most from the time I called the error to their attention until the check arrived. Yesterday, by coincidence, I received the first request from that company to re-license my images in a new edition of an older work. About a year has passed since I received the settlement for the earlier infringement, and while they've requested no new images from me during that time, I tend to think that this latest request suggests I'm not on a black list. Of course it may be easier for them to re-license an image they've already used in several earlier editions than to find a replacement. I can't be sure about the black list question until they want to use some new image for the first time. But if I had joined the class action suit I wouldn't have a penny yet, and I would surely have been on their black list in that case. Chuck Cecil

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