Travel Photographer-Writers and AOL in Nasty Legal Battle

By Astor, David | Editor & Publisher, September 12, 1998 | Go to article overview

Travel Photographer-Writers and AOL in Nasty Legal Battle


Astor, David, Editor & Publisher


A contentious legal case involving America Online and two syndicated travel photographer-writers is scheduled to go to trial Nov. 16.

In August 1997, Ann and Carl Purcell sued AOL in U.S. District Court in San Francisco for copyright infringement. Two weeks ago, AOL countersued for trademark infringement.

The Purcells -- who said the case could significantly impact other photographers and writers on the Internet -- charged in last year's suit that their copyright was infringed upon during and after they ran an AOL photography forum between 1994 and 1997.

But AOL spokeswoman Tricia Primrose said the online service thinks the Purcells may have filed the $5 million suit because AOL ended their forum.

"They were very disappointed when AOL decided not to renew their contract and it's unfortunate that their response was to manufacture a lawsuit," Primrose stated. "We believe the suit is without merit."

The Purcells disagreed -- contending, for instance that a photo they took of the Supreme Court was used without permission to illustrate an AOL area about following legal rules.

"Our copyright on the edge of the Supreme Court image had been neatly and intentionally cropped out" recalled Carl, who said he and Ann included their copyright with each photo they uploaded to AOL

The Purcells also charged that their photos remained available on AOL for several weeks after the online service canceled their "Pictures of the World" forum in 1997.

And they said 742 Purcell photos were included, without permission, on an AOL area offering Web sites free clip art.

Ann noted that she and her husband sell their photos for as much as $15,000 an image when they guarantee exclusivity to the buyer -- so having the pictures placed in the public domain by AOL "devalued" their worth.

According to Carl, AOL claimed that "by uploading images into our forum, we had abandoned our copyright and they now owned our pictures."

He added, "Thousands, probably millions of users upload intellectual property into the various channels on AOL. How will they feel when they learn that AOL is claiming ownership of what they create?"

Primrose responded, "If our subscribers upload material, they give express permission to AOL and other subscribers to use the material. But this is not the case with content partners" -- which is what the Purcells were until 1997. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Travel Photographer-Writers and AOL in Nasty Legal Battle
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.