Kansas City photographer sues real estate company over use of 'Plaza Lights' picture

By Gabriel Neves | Feb 24, 2019

KANSAS CITY — A Kansas City photographer who took a famous "Plaza Lights" photo is suing a real estate firm alleging it used the picture without permission.

Eric Bowers filed a lawsuit at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on Feb. 15 against Orenda Real Estate Services and Cristopher Dawson for copyright infringement.

According to the complaint, the "defendants copied plaintiff’s copyrighted work without plaintiff’s permission," and, "after defendants copied the work, they distributed the work on the internet to promote the sale of goods and services as part of their real estate business."

Orenda displayed the picture on its website in a repeated and continuous manner in order to attract customers, the complaint alleged.

"Defendants copied and distributed plaintiff’s copyrighted work in connection with defendants’ business for purposes of advertising and promoting defendants’ business, and in the course and scope of advertising and selling products and services," the complaint said.

That same complaint also states that Bowers "never gave defendants permission or authority to copy, distribute, or display the work at issue in this case."

The plaintiff attempted to resolve the issue before filing the lawsuit.

"Plaintiff notified defendants of the allegations set forth herein on Apr. 4, 2018 and has attempted to settle the matter amicably and for a minimum of expense with defendants over the last eight months via additional written correspondence sent in May of 2018, June of 2018, and September of 2018. Defendants ignored plaintiff and never otherwise responded," the complaint said.

Bowers is seeking damages, as well as an injunction against Orenda and Dawson to prevent more violations, attorney's fees and costs, and a jury trial.

The photographer is represented by attorney Nathan E. Ross of Ross & Voytas of St. Louis. No judge has been assigned to the case yet.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri Case number 4:19-cv-00118-BCW

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