Photographer files lawsuit against University of Kentucky over ownership rights to photos

bestep@herald-leader.comDecember 7, 2012 

The University of Kentucky and several Lexington businesses have infringed on the ownership rights to photos shot by the school's longtime chief sports photographer, a federal lawsuit alleges.

Attorneys for David Coyle filed the lawsuit for him Friday. It names UK; the athletics committee of the trustees; Paul Miller Ford; the UK Federal Credit Union; Hands On Originals; and FO Holdings as defendants.

The lawsuit said Coyle was either chief photographer or director of photography for UK athletics from 1988 to 2010, taking photos at games and for media guides, publicity releases and advertising, or directing other photographers.

"Even now, some of the best known pictures of Kentucky football and men's basketball from this period are ones that were produced by David Coyle," the lawsuit said.

Coyle retained the copyrights to photos, but since 2010 UK has let businesses use the photos in violation of his ownership, the lawsuit said. In other cases, businesses have used Coyle's photos without his permission and without going through UK, the lawsuit said.

The suit includes several examples, including shots of UK basketball Coach John Calipari and photos taken in Rupp Arena.

The lawsuit said there is a controversy over ownership rights to the photos. Coyle is seeking a judgment that he is the owner.

The complaint also seeks unspecified damages and an injunction barring UK and the named businesses from using the photos without Coyle's permission.

Bill Estep: (606) 678-4655. Twitter: @billestep1

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