Skip to main content
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Sorry, but making a few edits to a copyrighted photograph doesn’t give you the right to claim the image as your own.

Editing and filtering images has never been easier.  Even those that find Photoshop too much of a challenge can dabble with image editing using simple tools built into apps like iPhoto and Instagram.   But making a few edits and changing the background shouldn’t mean you own the new image.  A St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer found himself arguing this point with a person he discovered to be appropriating his work, including the addition of a watermark crediting his own Twitter handle (below, from Twitter.com/stlramsphotos) .

Chris Lee stolen image Twitter

On his site, Jim Romenesko details the back-and-forth between photographer Chris Lee and St. Louis Rams fan Alvin Lawrence over Lee’s purloined image of Rams player Robert Quinn.  Lawrence apparently claimed ownership of the image when he sent  a framed version to Quinn, shown at top in a screen grab from Twitter posted on jimromenesko.com.   From Romenesko’s post:

A few days after Christmas, Lee saw an Instagram photo of Rams star Robert Quinn holding one of his photos that had been enlarged and framed. In the comments next to the photo, the Rams player wrote that “a guy specially made it for me but idk [I don’t know] maybe he will do one for you.” Fans asked Quinn who they should contact to get their own framed prints.

A short time later, Lawrence – Mr. @stlramsphotos – tweeted: “I’ve gotten over 20+ offers from people to buy that Quinn photo off of me… Biggest offer being, $350. Wow. I’m just doing this for fun lol.”

It appears the Post-Dispatch as well as the AP, who also had an image appropriated by Lawrence, have yet to take any legal action though Lee is reportedly filing copyright infringement complaints with Twitter and Instagram on his own.

Read the entire story here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *