Author Topic: Cultural Council's "Image" Problem  (Read 1419 times)


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Cultural Council's "Image" Problem
« on: July 27, 2016, 03:49:47 PM »

The Cultural Council is attracting ire after a prominent local photographer accused the organization of violating her copyright.

The controversy came to light with a blog post published on Monday morning, but the roots date back to early May.

It began when Agnes Lopez, who owns a photography business and works at Jacksonville Magazine, noticed her photo had been altered and included in a series published by the Cultural Council in an edition of Arbus Magazine.

Lopez said the photo, a portrait of Reveal host and former State of the Reunion host Al Letson taken in 2008, was cropped and converted to black and white before being included alongside portraits taken by another local photographer, Renee Parenteau.

Although Lopez and the Cultural Council had been negotiating a settlement for several months, Lopez said the most recent back-and-forth included the organization asking for her to sign a statement that limited her ability to show how the photo had been altered.

Lopez, who had asked the Cultural Council for a formal apology from both the organization itself and Parenteau, as well as compensation for the photo, said that request resulted in her decision to go public. The blog post has attracted significant readership since then.

"I just want them to do the right thing, and I’m very disappointed that I have to be the one to make them do the right thing," Lopez said. "I had to contact lawyers. This could have all been avoided."

Lopez also said there were other instances of the Cultural Council using her work, including her portrait of artist Kedgar Volta being used in a newsletter promoting its 2015 Arts Awards.

Lopez said the use of photos without permission sends a bad message.

"If they’re supposed to support artists, I definitely don’t trust them and I know many other artists who don't," Lopez said. "No one will speak up. I do not like to get involved in anything like this, but I did every single thing to do handle it directly with them. I have spent a lot of money on this. I wanted them to do the right thing – they did not."

Though the Cultural Council says the photo is Lopez', Executive Director Tony Allegretti said the Cultural Council had permission to use the photo for the series.

Allegretti declined to say which organization had provided the photo in a phone call, but in a Facebook comment posted late Monday, the Cultural Council indicated that Letson's employer had sent the photo. Letson himself denied having provided the photo.

Allegretti said the blog post was a "surprise" and said the Cultural Council was ready to fulfill Lopez' requests, though he said there were sticking points, including the Cultural Council declining to get an apology from Parenteau. He also cited a previously published blog post from Lopez.

"Even though I think it was reasonable to assume we had permission to use this photo, I did tell Agnes the first time and several times that we would do what's right. We did not intentionally or knowingly do this," Allegretti said...
« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 03:58:25 PM by TheCat »


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Re: Cultural Council's "Image" Problem
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2016, 03:54:51 PM »
Original Blog Post:

After several months of dealing with this situation I felt I had to finally speak out to correct the record on a matter of copyright infringement by The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and Renee Parenteau Photography.

I take pride in what I do as a professional photographer and I feel that it is very important to protect my copyright and claim my work as my own when it is misused.

I took this photograph of Reveal host Al Letson back in 2008. I am the copyright owner of this image...

Original photo, cropped

Original photo, cropped and converted to black and white

Photo, cropped and modified to match another photographer’s portrait collection


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Re: Cultural Council's "Image" Problem
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2016, 04:05:00 PM »
It's sad that the Cultural Council doesn't know how to properly credit or pay their artists.