San Jose’s alternative weekly Metro reports that the Mercury News has become embroiled in a copyright infringement lawsuit over a photograph it published in 2003 because the paper wouldn’t pay what the photographer called a “very reasonable” fee. Chris Harris, a Tennessee college photojournalism professor who is suing the Merc for using a photo he shot that was printed in a book, wouldn’t tell Metro how much he wanted, but “says was so small it wouldn’t even cover the photocopying costs the newspaper’s attorneys have probably incurred over two years of digging their heels in court.” Harris has won a major victory in the case — the Merc’s summary judgment motion was thrown out of court — and the suit is now headed to trial. Harris is seeking class action status, meaning that if he wins, other photographers may be eligible for payments from the newspaper as well.

SF Press Club News

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