In February, I tagged along with Dustin Craven, Andrew Hardingham, Scott Shaw and Mike Fikowski for a few days in Revelstoke, BC to shoot photos. They were filming for Andrews upcoming movie Thunder Mouth. We had 4 days of super shitty light and we didn’t really get much accomplished, but it was a super fun trip and the snow was deep. I got a few shots which will be published this winter in various magazines etc. So, yes, a success for the most part.
Dustin mentioned that Grenade Gloves (his outerwear sponsor) were looking to buy shots of him in next years gear. Great I thought!
It’s pretty standard practice after shooting riders, you preview shots with them, they show their sponsors, if their sponsors are feeling the shots, they buy them for a price based on how they intend to use them.
A while later, Dustin mentioned that Grenade were stoked on a shot and were gonna use it. I was pumped.
I checked out their website for whatever reason and low and behold, in the news section, under the headline “Let Craven RIde’ which was supporting Dustin’s trip to the Olympics, was my photo. I was stoked it was being used, but then a warning light came on in the back of my head. Wait a second, no one even asked me if they could use this photo and I’m pretty sure I’d remember being paid, or at least discussing it?
I hopped on the email machine and Dustin provided me with an address for Jordan Brown, his team manager at Grenade.
I introduced myself and we communicated about the situation. After about a month of friendly chats that lead nowhere, a fellow photographer hooked me up with a different email address at Grenade. This new address belonged to the CEO of the company, Jospeh Condorelli.
So anyway, here’s some emails between them and I starting with Jordan Brown and ending with Joseph Condorelli:
from chris messervey
date Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 10:19 AM
subject Dustin Craven Photograph
I was checking out your website today and noticed a photo of Dustin in the news section, under the heading “let craven ride” that I had recently snapped while in Revelstoke. Stoked!! Glad you liked the image! Just wondering where I can send an invoice? Do you handle that sort of thing yourself or?
Looking forward to hearing from you!
from Jordan Brown
to chris messervey
date Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 11:50 AM
subject RE: Dustin Craven Photograph
Totally. Let me know what we are working with. Get me what you require!
The photos are great. Keep em coming if you got em!
Thats the last I heard from Jordan until March 25th.
Hey again Jordan,
We really need to get this matter settled asap. Its been a while since I’ve heard from you.
Heres an invoice and licensing agreement for you.
Please respond within 3 business days so I know we’re on the same page here.
No reply to this one. At this point, I contacted Grenades CEO Joseph Condorelli. Now the fun really begins.
from chris messervey
date Sun, Apr 18, 2010 at 4:56 PM
subject Dustin Craven image on your website
I was given your email address by a fellow photographer who has worked with you in the past.
I’ve been communicating with Jordan Brown via email regarding an image of Dustin Craven that was posted on your website in early March in support of an article titled, ‘Let Craven Ride’. The image is one I snapped this winter and I assume was given to you by Dustin.
Jordan has assured me that this is high priority and I realize you are all busy with Grenade Games and such, however, this matter needs to be dealt with ASAP. I have sent Jordan an invoice and license agreement numerous times and so far nothing has been done. It has been weeks since I’ve heard from him.
The image was used without permission and/or payment.
Not trying to cause trouble, just would like this matter settled.
to chris messervey
date Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 8:54 PM
subject RE: Dustin Craven image on your website
I appreciate your communications but it was given to me from a rider as do all the pics on the blog
I do not pay for website photography if you would like me to take it down I will
I do not wish you any harm but you should not give your art to someone if you are looking to sell it
Joseph L. Condorelli
Chief Executive Officer
Thanks for the email.
Regardless if a rider gave it to you or not, you still used my copyrighted work on your website without my permission. Which I am sure you are aware is illegal. http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-fairuse.html
I normally charge $XXX/per month for web based images. Seeing as how there has been some confusion between you and Dustin, Im willing to overlook this misunderstanding and only charge you a flat fee of $XXX which will give you permission to use that photo on your website for one year.
I preview shots with all my riders. They send them to their sponsors. Their sponsors pay me. Its a pretty standard routine.
Not looking to make enemies here Joe.
I am confused but I do not have any copyrighted photos of any one please let me know what you are trying to do?
If it is business you want let me know if it is money please do not keep bothering me about this you know where I stand.
Joseph L. Condorelli
Although I’m glad to hear where you stand on money and Im sorry for bothering you, unfortunately, you have used one of my images without permission or payment. If you aren’t willing to settle this professionally, I will be contacting the US copyright office as well as the better business bureau. In the future you should make sure the images your athletes ‘give’ you are not the property of someone else.
Please note that if you would like me to pursue this further, I will be charging my 5x rate for unauthorized, uncredited work.
Here’s some light reading for you.
I doubt you want to be a news headline.
Please find attached the image in question. A Dustin Craven image that is my copyrighted property. Also find attached an invoice and license.
Thanks for your time.
I looked all over the website and I do not see what you are talking about but I can tell you this if you are such a great photographer
This must be why I never heard of you because you waste people’s time.
This will be the last time I write the next time I will contact an attorney
PLEASE DO NOT HASSLE ME AGAIN AND IF YOU DO NOT WANT PEOPLE TO USE YOUR ART HAVE THEM SIGN A CONTRACT STATING THAT THE REAL ISSUE IS WITH DUSTIN NOT GRENADE
Joseph L. Condorelli
Thanks again Mr.Condorelli,
If the screenshots I’ve been sending you wont do, here is a link to MY image on YOUR website.
http://grenadegloves.com/Home/tabid/64/EntryId/10/Let-Craven-Ride.aspx (they removed the photo)
I would love for you to contact your attorney. Please do! When he informs you that you have in fact infringed on my copyrighted work you can pay me. Simple as that. Don’t wait too long as the price will increase 20 percent for every 15 days that you don’t pay.
You can contact Dustin and deal with him if you like, but either way MY image was used without permission, as I NEVER gave Dustin or yourself permission to use MY image.
Dustin did not use MY image for promotional use, GRENADE did. You will be hearing from my attorney if this matter persists.
Again here is the invoice and web screen grab attached. As of the usage date, you are owing for usage. If you would like I will add in the overcharges now for late payment, plus additional usage fees for not being released nor credited for my work.
I know my rights Mr. Condorelli and I also know yours. You/Grenade, in this matter have none and since Grenade should have asked if this image was released, Grenade is in the wrong. Feel free to ask your attorney, I’ve done this more than once and if you would like to try to scare me, have fun. I am protected under international copyright laws, you have nothing to stand on as I never gave you or Dustin permission to use this image.
Thanks for the comments re: not knowing me. Shows me how professional you are.
Please provide me with your attorneys contact info so I can have my attorney contact yours directly. Please understand I am being quite serious and if you would like to bring lawyers into this, by all means do so. It will only solidify your wrong doing and make this quite expensive for you considering what my invoice is now.
Have a great day.
At this point, Jordan Brown and I had a couple phone conversations about the situation. He’s a pretty nice dude and he said he’d do whatever he could to get me paid. He’d talk to Danny Kass and he was ‘down for me’. The trail then went cold until I sent him one final email on July 3rd
Im sure you’re a nice guy. In fact Facebook tells me we share a few of the same friends.
That said, this is your last chance. While you’ve been ignoring me, I’ve been talking to the Better Business Bureau of California about this situation and they have provided me with legal advice. They have also suggested I file a case with Small Claims Court of California and have given me all the information I need to do so. You can be sure I will be asking for a great deal more than the original $XXX I quoted you and I can guarantee that I will also be awarded legal fees since the photos are copyrighted. Legal fees that Grenade will be responsible for paying. I somehow doubt I even need to tell you that if you decide to go further with this, I will win. Grenade has infringed on my copyrighted work and is therefore is in the wrong. I will win.
I have screen shots of my photo on your website and I’ve saved all of our email conversations.
Your call. You have 3 days.
I have not been ignoring you. I am in Europe with our team right now.
Please do not take anything personally.
I do not deal in finances for Grenade. I do my best to influence the correct decisions on our end.
I agree with you that if we receive a photo from you directly of any of our athletes and we choose to use it on our site that you should be compensated.
In the case of the photo of Dustin Craven on our Blog. It was forwarded to me by Dustin himself not from you direclty. Prior to receiving it we have never been in contact. We were not even aware it came from you until you reached out. That being said I am acknowledging that it is your photo. That being the case it probably should not have been sent to me via Dustin without any introduction or background on where it came from and if it is something we are required to pay for however much it may be.
The photos I received were not watermarked or noted as your work so I had no way of knowing if they belonged to you or anyone else.
Merely a blog photo to promote Dustin from a grass roots level.
Danny, Joseph, and Craven are all CCed on this email.
I think it is in all our best interest to get it sorted out ASAP. Due to us being in Europe however it might not happen over night. And once again any financial decisions from Grenade are not mine but I will due my best to influence the right course of action.
Please let me know when you receive this.
to Jordan Brown
date Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 3:16 PM
subject Re: Dustin Craven image on your website
3:16 PM (16 hours ago)
I told you ten time stop communicating with this guy please he is unstable or something I will report you to the authorities and you know if you are begging for a XXX dollar handout you must be living in the streets now stop
Sent from my iPad
the snowboard industry is full of dickbags and theives.