Rick Perry's Been Using A Local Photographer's Work Without Permission or Compensation.
On January 14, the administrators of Governor Rick Perry's Facebook page posted a headshot of the then-still-active presidential candidate, complete with his campaign logo and a message from Perry and his wife, thanking their supporters. The image was posted with a Facebook status update encouraging users to share the image and spread it around.
A pretty standard political move, no doubt. Fairly harmless stuff. Well, at first glance, at least.
Turns out the Perry campaign doesn't own the rights to the photo. Nor did they ever seek permission from its owner to see if they could use it. They simply grabbed it off of Google — a fact they now admit — and ran with it. So, too, did Perry's supporters: The photo, which was posted to a page with over 180,000 fans, has garnered over 6,000 “likes,” over 7,000 comments and almost 1,400 Facebook “shares” in the two-plus months since it was posted.
Dallas photographer Jason Janik, hired to take the picture in the fall of 2010 by the organizers of a donor's event, subsequently released the image to a syndication service and only just noticed that image's use by the Perry campaign. Yesterday, Janik posted Perry's re-appropriation of his image to his own Facebook page, saying he was looking into the matter and complaining that “[if] his people stole it, I'm going to be very upset!”
A day later, the situation doesn't appear any less bleak. Janik's syndication service told him that they were never approached by Perry or anyone in his campaign to see if the photo could be used, either.
So Janik reached out to Catherine Frazier, deputy communications director for Texas for Rick Perry, for some answers. The two spoke yesterday over the phone, Janik says.
“Yesterday's phone call from her was basically an apology and a promise,” Janik says. “She stated that near the end of Perry's [campaign] they had someone running the Facebook page that wasn't exactly what they had hoped for. She said he admitted to pulling photos off Google image search and appropriating them. She said that she was sorry for the action and then made a promise to have the image pulled down by that evening or this morning at the latest.”
One problem: The image is still posted on the Facebook page. And it's not like the page is inactive, either; a new status update was posted to the page just four hours before the time of this article's posting.
Janik, understandably, remains fairly upset about the matter — not just the use of his photo, he says, but the fact that the promise made to him over the phone yesterday remains unfulfilled.
“I mailed them an invoice for use of the photo this morning to cover the last couple months,” he says. “It is for a very reasonable and modest amount, as I'm not looking to turn this into some sort of 'payday.' I just plan to be fairly compensated for the use of my image. We'll see how long it takes them to pay for the unauthorized use.”