A Photographer Sued a Student Over a School Project. Guess How That Turned Out–Reiner v. Nishimori

31 10 2017

In 1997, TC Reiner worked with SuperStock to create a photo entitled “Casablanca.” If I understand it correctly, Reiner and SuperStock put significant time and money into creating the photo on spec, with the hope that a future advertiser would license it. You can see the photo as Exhibit A to the complaint. It’s not 100% clear if Reiner or SuperStock own the photo, but that issue proves immaterial. SuperStock advertised the photo for licensing through its catalog.

Judith Sweeney O’Bryan was an adjunct at Watkins College of Art, Design and Film in Nashville (she’s now an associate professor there). She required her students to create a mock ad using a set of photographs she designated “by cutting stock photographs out of magazines and stock photography catalogues and scanning them on her computer.” [Before you get too snarky, note this incident took place nearly a decade ago.] The photo set included Casablanca. “O’Bryan did…contact her Dean at Watkins to ask whether using any of the photographs would infringe a copyright, and the Dean assured her that it would not.” A student, Ryon Nishimori, used Casablanca to create a mock ad for Dr. Scholls (see Exhibit C of the complaint). The scanned version of the photo included some metadata from SuperStock, but Nishimori edited it out. Nishimori subsequently uploaded the mock ad to his Flickr account as a form of cloud storage. Watkins subsequently changed its policy to use only Creative Commons-licensed photos for this class project.



Case citation: Reiner v. Nishimori, 3:15-cv-00241 (M.D. Tenn. April 28, 2017). The complaint.

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2017/05/a-photographer-sued-a-student-over-a-school-project-guess-how-that-turned-out-reiner-v-nishimori.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



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