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Roger
Roger, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 25986
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by West
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I am the fiance of a very well respected famous photographer

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I am the fiance of a very well respected famous photographer (I'll call him Carter). A colleuge (not a friend of Carters, not on any level of photography as Carters; I'll call him Jack) owns a photography seminar business and asked Carter to be a part of thia business. I advised Carter to get a contract from Jack stating his intentions, compensation, and use of Carters name. Carter never did. Carter said that he trusted Jack and so the story goes...Now a year and a half later Carter becomes aware that Jack has business emails in Carters name related to Jacks business, a Facebook page which Carter agreed that Jack can run the page for him however NOT represent himself as Carter. Through this Facebook page Jack has solicited clients impersonating Carter (all through the private message icon on Facebook which I have printed out as evidence), and intent to sell Carters fine art and celebrity photographs. I have the written communication with Jack representing himself as Carter sending the client pictures of which he can choose from to purchase with a price. Some of those pictures Carter doesn't own, they are owned by another company which Carter was hired to take the pictures.

Marketing, promotional, personal, commercial clients were writing into this Facebook page privately thinking they were communicating privately with Carter where all along Jack was responding and signing his name as Carter.

Jack stated (posing as Carter) in several of these messages to direct their intentions to Jack. Jack (posing as Carter) also stated to send emails to Carter@******.com which Carter never knew existed. And now Jack says that account he recently deleted.

There is more to this story like book sales, Art-Basel photograph(s) which were sold and Carter never received a bill of sale, invoice, or proof of the exact price the photograph was purchased for.

The book sale issue mentioned is extremely disturbing because Jack's accounting which
he finally gave to Carter is self written and not a printing from the avenues in which they are sold; ie, Amazon, iTunes, and Pay-Pal.

Please, if you can give me any direction on how to handle this situation I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you, XXX@XXXXXX.XXX
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Roger replied 8 months ago.

Roger : Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX X'X an Intellectual Property litigation attorney. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to assist.
Roger : Your fiancé should consult a local attorney about issuing a cease and desist letter to stop Jack from any further actions, to shut down the site, stop having Jack representing himself as being Carter, etc.
Roger : As for legal claims, there would be possible copyright and trademark issues that could be pursued.
Roger : First, any images that belong to Carter would be protected by common law copyright claims, and if anything has been sold without his permission, Jack could face copyright infringement penalties.
Roger : Further, if Carter is famous in his industry (or broader), then he could have common law trademark claims to his name alone, and if Jack is using his name to get business, associate Carter with the work to induce customers, etc., then there could be a trademark infringement claim as well.
Roger : Your fiancé could have an attorney file for an injunction/temporary restraining order to shut down the website/facebook page, etc., and then turn to figuring out what all has been going on in Carter's name.
Customer: Is it against the law to post on Facebook what Jack has been doing to Carter? Carter is sopnsored by Hensel, Cannon, and other brands in the photography business. Jack's business has increased since Carter's name has been associated.
Customer: I'm sorry,JACK is sponsored by those companies.....
Roger : It would be illegal if he's representing himself to consumers/customers as being Carter, when he is not and when Carter has not authorized it.
Roger : This would be a civil matter (not criminal) and Carter could sue for what he's doing.
Customer: Can Carter publically post what Jack has been doing?
Customer: Why is this civil and not criminal? At what point is it criminal?
Roger : As long as it is true, then there would likely be nothing illegal about that. However, it would be best to consult a local lawyer about how to approach this before doing something you can't reverse.
Customer: At what point does it become criminal? Evidence of sale of Carters photographs?
Roger : You would have to identify a crime that has been committed. It may be difficult to establish this, and a criminal charge will not result in any financial compensation for him, other than possible restitution.
Customer: Ok. Thank you very much. Have a nice day.
Roger : Sure. Glad to help. Please let me know if you need anything further
Roger, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 25986
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by West
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