Metro Weekly

Photo Finish

Lynch and Blade reach settlement for photo use

A longtime fixture of the local LGBT community, photographer Patsy Lynch reports that she found resolution Tuesday evening in a deal with the Washington Blade, following a months-long impasse regarding a photo Lynch shot decades ago.

”I’m not out to gouge anybody,” Lynch said at the start of the week. ”I simply want payment for work used, and to make sure in the future the Blade and any subsidiaries are aware of and appreciate copyrights, and provide fair payment.”

The photo in question appeared on a Blade float in the June 2011 Capital Pride Parade. Lynch – a Rainbow History Project ”Pioneer” for her decades of work documenting the LGBT community – was out of town at the time, photographing in Arkansas for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It wasn’t until August that she saw a picture of the float, featuring her photograph.

”They all have written letters from me stating they can use my photos more than once, but every time they use them they have to pay me,” Lynch says of her work for publications such as Gay City News in New York, Windy City Times in Chicago, as well as the Blade in D.C. Accordingly, she contacted the Blade about use of her photo.

”They offered a fee I felt was below what I thought reasonable,” Lynch said Feb. 11. ”I counter-offered and was summarily rejected. … I’m not trying to overwhelm the Blade, but they used my photo.”

That led Lynch to file a civil suit in Rockville District Court in mid-December seeking $1,250. That’s a date, however, Lynch says she’s happy not to keep.

Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 14, Glen H. Ackerman, managing partner of Ackerman Brown PLLC, who represents the Blade‘s parent company, Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia Inc., released a statement from both parties that they ”have authorized me to report that they have resolved their dispute to their mutual satisfaction. … Brown Naff Pitts respects the rights of artists including, but not limited to, photojournalists like Ms. Lynch.”

Later Tuesday, Lynch said, ”I believe a protracted situation wouldn’t benefit anybody. I also believe that statement that Glen released says it all. They acknowledge that they made a mistake and I’m assuming in the future they’ll be much more vigilant in handling situations like this. I’m glad that it’s done. There’s no ill will.”

Lynch added that she expected payment Feb. 15, per the agreement. She declined to name the settlement amount.

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.

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