A video posted online shows some of the pictures that street photographer Brandon Stanton has used as part of his Humans of New York photo project. In a February 25 post to his Facebook page, Stanton included a photo a fan had sent him from a DKNY store in Bangkok. “The window is full of my photos,” Stanton wrote. “These photos were used without my knowledge, and without compensation.”
Stanton wrote that he was approached several months ago by a DKNY representative who asked to purchase 300 of his photos to hang in store windows “around the world.” Stanton said DKNY offered him $15,000, but declined when he asked for more money. More than a half-million people are “fans” of Stanton’s Facebook page, and his story was quickly shared tens of thousands of times after he encouraged his followers to implore DKNY to donate $100,000 to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Later that day, DKNY issued a statement on its own Facebook page acknowledging that Stanton had declined to participate in the “Only in NYC” images it sought to use for its Spring 2013 windows program. “However, it appears that inadvertently the store in Bangkok used an internal mock up containing some of Mr. Stanton’s images that was intended to merely show the direction of the spring visual program,” DKNY said. “We apologize for this error and are working to ensure that only the approved artwork is used.”
DKNY reiterated its support for the arts and said it was donating $25,000 in Stanton’s name to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn. Stanton said he was “going to take them at their word that it was a mistake, and be happy that this one had a happy ending.” While Stanton initially said he did not want any money and avoided commenting about copyright infringement online, many observers felt the photographer could have—and should have—sent a stronger message to DKNY.
If a company or another party is using photographs or some other form of your own copyrighted work, you might not have the benefit of hundreds of thousands of Facebook followers to help you get justice. You can learn more about intellectual property rights by visiting our website, and you contact our firm at [number] or complete the form on this page to have our Los Angeles copyright infringement lawyer review your case.
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Quick Klein Extra: A copyright owner has five exclusive rights in the copyright work: reproduction right, distribution right, public performance right, public display right and—with certain types of art—moral right.