Lubbock photographer Eric Karr said he was blindsided to see a photo he took in the Lubbock Lineup newspaper. The Lubbock Lineup is a weekly dollar newspaper that prints about 175 mug shots a week.
"Why did you use my image? It is as simple as that," Karr said.
In March, Karr said in the section 'I promise I look much better on Facebook" a photo he snapped of a model was printed there in black and white. He said the Lubbock Lineup's owner Jessica Chavez used his photo without his permission.
"People need to understand that just because it is on Facebook, it doesn't give them the right to take the picture off of Facebook and publish it for a for profit magazine without compensating the creator," he said.
Karr said the particular image cost him about $250 bucks to produce.
"I've got a lot of money invested in these pictures to try to sell those pictures to an advertising company that wants to buy them," he said. "Here I am the one who paid for everything and did all the hard work, yet she is reaping the rewards of my work."
Attorney Charles Chambers who represents Chavez said his client is in her rights, because of the fine print on Facebook.
"I represent I have the rights to post this picture, or this content on Facebook," Chambers said. "There is another disclaimer that the user or the subscriber makes that says I understand that if this is on a public setting then anything that I post I agree can be used by anybody or any purpose."
"Her attorney is flat wrong," Karr said.
"Lets go see a federal district judge about it," Chambers said. "It's not a copy right infringement in my opinion."
Texas Tech Professor Randy Reddick teaches his students about copyright laws. A rule of thumb he tells his students is always assume that an image or any material is copyrighted.
"Even though it is put on a public website, somebody owns that image," he said. "In order to use it, you need to go through proper hoops to get permission."
"If it had been posted on his website and there was no copyright disclaimer, or you may not use these then perhaps so," Chambers said. "On the other hand, he was not the user of the picture the young lady was the user of the picture and represented she had the right to publish it."
Karr has filed a complaint with a division of the FBI, Better Business Bureau, and the Comptroller's office. He said everytime a new issue is printed with copyright violations he files new complaints. So far, he has filed four.
Professor Reddick said if a case like this heads to the courts if the photographer can prove creation of an image, then he or she probably has a good case.