If the title is a bit confusing, it’s probably because this lawsuit is kind of ridiculous and a prime example of a big company trying to bully someone for THEIR wrongdoing.
Maxwell Jackson is a 21 year old college student who went with his photography club in 2012 to The Color Run in Miami. The Color Run is “The Happiest 5K on the Planet…that celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality.” According to their page, it is the “single largest event series in the United States.”
After posting one of his photos, Max was approached by the Photo Director of The Color Run to use some of the images for their Facebook page with “photo credit wherever [his] photos are used,” and (cough, cough) “good exposure.”
Max, then 19 and just starting out in photography, was excited for the opportunity and gave his consent. A few months later, he was in a Sports Authority store in Pennsylvania and was handed a flier with his photo on it, and no photo credit.
The Color Run continues to use Max’s photos on their main websites. “The photos have also been featured by publications like U.S. News, Baltimore Sun Times, and companies like Coca-Cola.” Max states.
Max then wrote a letter to The Color Run “requesting compensation as follows: $100,000.00 US deposited into my business bank account, additionally to be named the Official Photography Sponsor of The Color Run (Internationally) for the remainder of its existence, my logo to be added in sponsors section next to Chevy on the bottom of your web pages. My name to read at the bottom of any photo’s used in legible print from the next print run forward as, Photogrph by Max Jackson.”
In response, according to Max, Travis Lyman Snyder, owner and founder of The Color Run, told him that he “would rather spend $500,000 on lawyers than be extorted by [Max]” and followed with a lawsuit against Max arguing that Max gave them “an implied license,” and “inadvertently” used his images in their print ads.
According to Broward Palm Beach New Times, the lawsuit alleges “nine different causes of action, including federal trademark infringement, false advertising, and unfair competition. For most of the counts, the suit asks to be awarded attorneys fees, compensation for damages ‘not less than $75,000′ and ‘an amount three times the greater of Jackson’s profits derived from… Jackson’s wrongful acts.‘”
Max is anticipating $50,000-$100,000 to cover his legal fees and has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help him cover this cost. Being a college student, already struggling to pay tuition and student loans, this is a hefty sum, but he feels that he should stand up for his rights.
What are your thoughts on The Color Run’s lawsuit against Max? Share your thoughts below.
CREDITS: All photographs shared by Max Jackson are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.