ATLANTA (CN) – Hank Williams Jr. Enterprises used a young fan’s photos on T-shirts without permission and without paying him, the photographer claims in a federal copyright complaint.
Adam Dale Broach sued Hank Williams Jr. Enterprises, its merchandise manager Larry Doolittle, and Screen Play Inc., a printing company.
Broach claims he met Doolittle in 2005 at a Williams concert in Birmingham, Ala., when Broach was 18. He says he was allowed backstage to take photographs for his high school community newspaper.
In 2006, Broach claims, Doolittle asked him to take pictures at two concerts for the Williams fan club newsletter. Broach says this initiated a friendship that lasted for 5 years.
Broach says he became friends with Doolittle and with Williams, who invited him to numerous concerts and to spend time with Williams’ crew in the tour bus, backstage and at Williams’ house.
Broach says he volunteered to assist the band with concert-related tasks at 19 concerts, and to take pictures of the pre-concert meet and greet events and the shows. He says he took the pictures with a camera owned by Hank Jr. Enterprises and with a personal camera.
Though Broach gave Hank Jr. Enterprises permission to post the pictures online for the fans, he says he never assigned the copyrights to the pictures.
Broach says he posted the pictures on his social media pages and on the photo depository sites Photobucket and Picture Trail.
He claims that in 2009, Doolittle and Hank Jr. Enterprises downloaded some of the pictures from the Internet and used them on Hank Williams Jr. concert T-shirts and on other merchandise, without his permission.
Broach claims that when he asked Doolittle for compensation, Doolittle promised he would be “taken care of.”
But he says the defendants never paid him for the pictures.
Broach claims that Doolittle told him in 2010 that Hank Jr. Enterprises “had no more use for him” and would not pay him for the use of his pictures.
Broach says three of his pictures, which are protected by copyright, are featured on concert T-shirts, a concert drink “coozie” and a concert mini-poster, which have been sold at Hank Williams Jr. concerts and on Williams’ fan website.
He says Screen Play, which printed the pictures, denied liability, saying that Doolittle claimed he had Broach’s permission.
Broach seeks damages for direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement, and wants Hank Jr. Enterprises enjoined from using his pictures.
He is represented by Amanda Hyland with Taylor English & Duma.