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.