Photographer Up Against University of Houston Over Photo Use

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Like the University of Texas, who even sent a cease and desist letter to a donut shop, the University of Houston takes pride in their trademark and watches out for infringements. Earlier this year, they filed a lawsuit against the Texas College of Law for its attempted name change and colors. But what happens when the rolls are flipped?

Currently, the University of Houston is using a photo taken by Jim Olive in their online and print promotional materials. Yet, they haven’t given him credit for the photo, and they haven’t paid him.

Olive sent the University of Houston a bill for $41,000, which includes a hefty fee for taking off the credit. They refused to pay the bill, so Olive said he would need to take legal action. The university didn’t seem worried, and claimed that they would just claim sovereign immunity to protect themselves. The Houston Chronicle explains, “In order to take the university to court, [Olive] would have to convince the Texas Legislature to pass a bill allowing him to sue.”

Olive certainly doesn’t work for free as a freelance photographer. Many of his skyline photos were taken from a helicopter that requires a $2,500 helicopter rental fee, but for now, it appears the university will be able to use his work at no cost.