A young Florida college student photographer is receiving an outpouring of support from the photo community over what may turn out to be one of the more ridiculous copyright lawsuits we’ve ever run across — a suit in which the Color Run (you know, “The Best, the Biggest…The Happiest 5K on the Planet”) is allegedly suing HIM over a photo of his that they used.
21-year-old Maxwell Jackson first heard from The Color Run after he photographed one of the events at his school in Miami. They wanted to share his image from Miami on their Facebook page, and being new and naive he allowed it.
Fast-forward to July 2013 when Jackson walks into a Sports Authority in Pennsylvania, only to see his photo (sans credit, of course) displayed prominently on advertisements throughout the store. It turns out The Color Run’s Scott Winn, who originally asked for permission to use the photo, lied about a few things and left some other things out.
For one, he was promised to be given proper credit. For another (as you can see from the message above) no mention was made in the original correspondence of the photo being used in an INTERNATIONAL advertising campaign.
Jackson claims that his photo has been used without proper permission, compensation or credit on several international websites (including Color Run UK), in the U.S. News, Baltimore Sun Times, and by companies like Coca-Cola.
When he got in touch with Color Run Owner and Founder Travis Lyman Snyder to ask for proper compensation, the company allegedly replied by saying that they would “rather spend $ 500,000 on lawyers than be extorted.” And that’s exactly what The Color Run is doing: they filed a frivolous trademark infringement lawsuit against Jackson in what he calls and attempt to “sue him into submission.” (full filing available here)
Fortunately, Jackson has applied and been granted pro-bono council from the state of Utah — the state where The Color Run is based and the lawsuit filed — but he is still short tens of thousands of dollars in other fees that will be necessary in order to defend his rights. And since he’s a self-proclaimed broke college student, he’s started a GoFundMe campaign in hopes of raising the necessary funds.
Obviously we only have one side of this story. To that end, we’ve reached out to The Color Run’s press department for comment and will update this post just as soon as they get back to us. But while it’s very possible The Color Run has a legitimate reason to be upset with Jackson, our experience with these sorts of stories has us leaning the other way.
To find out more about the suit or show your support (either monetary or otherwise) for Jackson, head over to his GoFundMe campaign by clicking here. And, of course, feel free to let us know what you think in the comments down below.
Image credits: Photographs by Maxwell Jackson
Thank you to everybody that sent in this story. The number of readers hoping we covered this is just too many to list but it’s obvious our community really wants this story to get out.
[via PetaPixel][via PetaPixel]