Texas rips off copyrighted photograph of cowboy silhouette

A Comfort photographer is suing the state over roughly 4.5 million vehicle inspection stickers that appear to incorporate, without his authorization, an image of a saddle-toting cowboy he created in 1984.

Plaintiff David K. Langford wants the court to block the Department of Public Safety from further use or issuance of the stickers, the design of which he says is based on his copyrighted photo, “Days End 2.”

The stickers were produced by state prison inmates under a Texas Department of Criminal Justice contract with the DPS. Both agencies, which are named as defendants, declined comment Friday…

Langford, who said he was surprised to learn of the sticker from a friend’s tip in June, described the litigation as a last resort.

“We’ve tried everything we can to settle this in a businesslike, professional manner between photographer and client, but we can’t hardly get them to return a phone call,” said Langford…

If they’re going to get the images from incarcerated folks, they need to pay particularly close attention to the genesis of that intellectual property,” said Langford’s lawyer, Jimmy Carter.

He wants the court to award damages and attorney fees over what he says is an unlawful taking of an image that has generated income for Langford for 25 years.

Most often, I look somewhat askance at similar suits. This seems more than a bit different, a solid violation of long-standing copyrighted work.

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