News and advertising company faces copyright lawsuit over Jerry Garcia photo

By Danielle Pacey | Sep 8, 2018

ST. LOUIS — A photographer has accused a news and advertising company of the alleged theft of a copyrighted photograph of Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead.

Baron Wolman filed a complaint on Sept. 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against Lee Enterprises, Missouri Inc., for alleged violations of a copyrighted photo. He has demanded a jury trial.

Lee Enterprises posted the alleged stolen Jerry Garcia photo on a website article entitled, "THE BLENDER: New music festival honors Jerry Garcia," without Wolman's permission.

The website of Lee Enterprises used the photo as a prominent feature to promote a new music festival and on finding out the photo was copyrighted, allegedly tried to remove the image and cover up its initial prohibited use. 

Wolman, who registered the photo with the U.S. Copyright Office, believes that Lee Enterprises deliberately took his photo without asking his licensing permission, according to the lawsuit.

Lee Enterprises was founded in 1890. The company promotes local news and advertising in 21 states, with 49 markets. 

Wolman is asking the court for damages and any profits gained by Lee Enterprises as a result of copyright, attorney fees and pre-judgment interest or statutory damages more than $2,500 and up to $25,000 for each offense committed by the company for copyright infringement.

Wolman's photograph is properly registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, and Wolman has been proven to be the sole owner of the Jerry Garcia photo since it was taken, according to court documents. Wolman normally charges a fee for his photographs to be used by others online and in print media.

Wolman is being represented by Richard Liebowitz from the Liebowitz Law Firm is Valley Stream, New York.

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