July 13, 2012

Always Read the Fine Print

David Strick, the photographer who last spring sued the Los Angeles Times and its parent, the Tribune Company, for more than 500 individual acts of copyright infringement, has suffered a setback in his battle to have the case tried in a Federal District Court, and Strick is in danger of seeing his case dismissed on a technicality. In April, the court refused to hear Strick’s suit because his contract with the Times stipulated that any disputes would be decided through private mediation and arbitration. Now, an arbitrator has dismissed Strick’s case on a technicality.

Strick’s case should serve as cautionary tale for photographers entering into agreements with corporations that insist that disputes be settled by private arbitrators rather than a court of law. “I am devastated by today’s ruling by Judge Lichtman, our JAMS arbitrator, and feel that I have truly been denied ‘my day in court’ as the merits of this case have yet to be heard,” Strick said in a statement issued following the arbitrator’s ruling.

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