I recently wrote an article concerning Fox News using a photograph after being told by the owner of the picture they could not use the picture. As Paul Harvey would say: "Now for the rest of the story."
A few days ago, I wrote an article concerning Fox News asking Lesley Abravanel if they could use a photograph her husband had taken on November 1, 2017 of accused bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc’s van via Twitter. Abravanel replied to FoxNews on Twitter with: “My husband took the picture but won’t allow you guys to use it because you aren’t a reliable source of what’s going on in our country today. Sorry!” Later Abravanel was alerted by friends to Fox News using her husband’s photograph.
Now for the rest of the story. I contacted Abravanel again to ask if she and her husband had given permission to anyone else to use the photograph. Abravanel told me: “…AP asked if they could use the photo prior to Fox. Via Twitter. I wish I would have asked for payment, but alas, let’s just say I served my country and perhaps karma will reward me in the future.” I recently searched AP Images and found Abravanel’s photograph posted on the photo site. So, it appears FoxNews did not use Abravanel’s image from her Twitter account but instead purchased the right to use the picture from AP Images.
As we can see, Abravanel gave permission for AP Images to use her photograph without asking for compensation and AP Images turned around and sold the picture to at least Fox News and I would imagine several other news outlets. AP Images didn’t do anything illegal, but I believe they are doing something wrong when they ask to use someone else’s content for free and then turn around and sell the rights to other news organizations. They seem to be banking on the person who one time in their life has a piece of content that has value, and they don’t provide any information that they will profit off the content provided. I speculate this is not an isolated case and probably occurs frequently, because the owners of the content aren’t aware they can ask for compensation.
When I looked the other day at AP Images, an editorial usage fee for Abravanel’s photograph was $250.