Fox News Uses Photo After Owner Says No

Fox News Uses Photo After Owner Says No

Well, here we go again with a major news organization not getting permission to use a photograph. This time, they asked first and then ignored the answer. This time, it involves Fox News and a photograph of bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc’s van.

Lesley Abravanel posted a photo her husband took back on November 1, 2017 of a van that would later turn out to be owned by accused bombing suspect Cesar Savoc. Abravanel’s husband took the photograph when Savoc delivered lunch to his office and texted it to Abravanel. Of course, with all the news coverage, Abravanel and her husband remembered the earlier text, and she posted it on her Twitter account.

According to Abravanel, almost immediately after tweeting the photo, Fox News reached out to Abravanel and asked if they could use her photo. Abravanel, not being a fan of Fox News, declined to give permission to use the photograph. But of course, this wouldn’t be much of a story if it ended there. Fox News, even after Abravanel specifically stated she did not give them permission, went ahead and used the photograph and listed Abravanel as the source.

I asked Abravanel if she was planning to take any action against Fox News: “I haven’t yet because I do not know where I stand in terms of fair use of photos posted on Twitter.” And there is the problem, the large news organizations like Fox News know precisely what they can and can’t do while the person who has their 15 minutes of fame has no idea. I’m not a copyright expert, and I’m not even going to say if this is illegal or not, but I will say that it is not right to use a photograph after the owner states explicitly that you cannot use it. Abravanel has reached out via Twitter to Michael Avenatti.

But hey, they gave her credit, right? No, that is not enough after being told you can't use the photograph.

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Craig Zilko's picture

The story had my attention until the bit about asking Michael Avenatti for legal advice for free over Twitter no less - thank you for the laugh.

It's kinda hard to take the article seriously when the author isn't paying attention to his own article and apparently doesn't understand copyright. The wife clearly states thst her HUSBAND took the photo. Bttom line: it's not her intellectual property. They needed her husband's permission to use the image. The author comments on her not getting credit. She didn't take the photo; she's not entitled to credit. The author asked her if she was going to sue. Wtf? Again, not her photo. She has no legal standing. This is just pathetic.

Douglas Turney's picture

I never said I was a copyright expert. If you paid attention to the article you would have noticed I stated "I'm not a copyright expert." I do understand that copyright is retained with the creator of the art, which in this case is the husband. However, the article was written as a result of Lesley's Twitter feed, HER interaction with FoxNews and the fact that I interviewed her. Also if you paid attention to the article you will notice that I never said they didn't give her credit. I actually stated the opposite "used the photograph and listed Abravanel as the source."

Anyone who has been married or in a long term relationship will understand that "I" and "we" are freely used interchangeably when referring to issues that relate to both members of the relationship. From talking to Lesley it is obvious to me that when she said "I" she was referring to her and her husband and was not intending to steal her husband's copyright.

I do enjoy feedback on my articles and appreciate constructive input, either agreeing or disagreeing, so that I can provide the best for the Fstopper's readers. However the feedback should be accurate.

Simon Patterson's picture

Lesley Abravenel on Twitter (from the link in this article) wrote : "I gave AP permission to use." So clearly the news outlet here sourced the image via AP.

Another storm in a teacup...sigh...

Douglas Turney's picture

It appears that this is true. So now AP is profiting off of the Abravanels by selling their photograph and not compensating the creator of the content.

Simon Patterson's picture

How do you know AP didn't compensate the Abravanals?

Douglas Turney's picture

Because I interviewed her and she told me they didn't.

Fox News is just a garbage dump, I wouldn't expect anything else from them. It's insane that a modern democracy can have such a ridiculous channel watched by millions who gobble their venom daily, this would never exist in civilised Europe...

So did Fox get it legally from AP, or did they just steal it from the photographer?