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University of Chicago Flies Too High With Aerial Photograph

British Photographer Files Complaint Against University of Chicago

On November 15th, 2023, John Fielding (“Fielding”) filed a complaint against The University of Chicago (“UChicago”) for copyright infringement, alleging the unlicensed use of one of his photographs (“the Work”).

University of Chicago Campus
Photo by mikewiz via Pixabay

Fielding alleges that UChicago unlawfully used the image as commercial material to advertise and promote its programs. Fielding is a British professional photographer who specializes in aerial photography of the English countryside. Fielding regularly licenses his photographs for commercial use, and the Work was created in 2014 and registered for copyright in January 2021. Fielding discovered the unlicensed use in March of 2021, and waited until March 2023 to contact UChicago for a resolution.

In its Answer to the Complaint, UChicago denies all allegations and claims 15 different Affirmative Defenses, including Fair Use of the Photograph, Statute of Limitations, and Doctrine of Unclean Hands. UChicago makes a point in its Answer to mention that “the Work is freely downloadable through the internet on”

Fielding is seeking statutory damages with pre- and post-judgement interest, as well as UChicago to cover all associated legal fees. We will provide updates to this case as they become available.