The Los Angeles Times has won its case against photographer David Strick, who was suing the paper for hundreds of alleged copyright violations.
Judge Peter D. Lichtman dismissed Strick’s claims this week, dealing a final blow to the year-old suit.
Strick (left) sued the Times last May, alleging that it had used photos of his without permission. The veteran Hollywood photographer, whose work has appeared in publications such as Vanity Fair and People magazine, signed with the Times in 2007, bringing his propensity for behind-the-scenes photos on various film sets with him.
After the paper decided not to pick up his option in May of 2010, it kept using photographs he had shot while still under contract. Strick tried to prevent them from doing so, believing he held the rights to those photos.
The Times refused, citing a Services Agreement regarding right of use. The agreement also stipulated that any dispute be resolved in arbitration.
Instead, Strick filed suit in May of 2011, hoping to avoid arbitration.
“Strick chose to ignore the agreed upon resolution method and file his District Court complaint,” Lichtman wrote. “In so doing, Strick gambled that a motion to compel arbitration would either not be pursued or granted.”
The Times challenged Strick’s case in the U.S. District Court, which held the Times’ motion to compel arbitration. Strick filed the suit after a 90-day time period the agreement required.
As a result of that delay, his claims were dismissed.
“From our perspective, the case is over and we’ve won,” Kelli Sager, an attorney for the Times, told TheWrap. “They chose to litigate it in a way that isn’t appropriate and contrary to the parties’ agreement.”
Strick’s attorney Karen Moskowitz objected to the arbitrator’s ruling. She said they would explore every avenue of appeal once an award has been rendered.
"We view this as an abject denial of due process and an access to justice issue that goes way beyond Mr. Strick individually and will set a precedent that may impact content providers everywhere," Moskowitz said in a statement. "Judge Peter Lichtman’s ruling today denied our client any forum to have his case heard on the actual merits of the central issue of copyright infringement."
Sager said the only remaining issue is attorney’s fees, and there will be a post-arbitration call in the next week or two.