I requested a copy of the letter sent last week to Sue Ann Reeves (the Bradfield Elementary yearbook volunteer) by attorney William Banosky on behalf of HPISD.
May 5, 2010
Sue Ann Reeves
Via email [address redacted]
RE: Publication of Bradfield Elementary Yearbook
Dear Ms. Reeves:
As you know, this firm represents the Highland Park Independent School District (“HPISD”). It has come to our attention that you have published your version of the yearbook for Bradfield Elementary School (the “Original Design”) on the internet. As you have previously been advised, you do not have authority to publish the Original Design.
In my letter to you dated April 26, 2010, you were told that HPISD had not authorize you (or anyone else) to publish a yearbook separate from the newly designed Bradfield PTA yearbook. In particular, you were advised that HPISD is the owner of all right, title, and interest in the Bradfield name and associated trademarks, including its mascot. Your incorporation of them into the Original Design violates state and federal law in that it creates a likelihood of confusion that the Original Design is in any way sponsored by, affiliated with, or associated with HPISD and/or its licensees, including the Bradfield PTA. As such, your use constitutes a false designation of origin as to the source of the Original Design. See, e.g., 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Moreover, you do not have permission from either the parents or the school-picture photographer, Lifetouch, to include photographs of the Bradfield students in the Original Design.
HPISD has received communications from parents who are concerned that photographs of their children were published on the internet without their express permission. We too are concerned that our parent’s trust has been violated in this manner. Your only access to the student photographs was through your work on the yearbook. You were never authorized to use the photographs for your own purposes and you certainly were not given permission to publish them on the internet.
In addition, I have been contacted by the General Counsel of Lifetouch the owner of the copyright in the class photographs. She has expressed her concerns about your unauthorized publication of Lifetouch’s photographs. Placing a password on the web site does not change the fact that you continue to publish trademarked and copyrighted material belonging to others and that you continue to display photos of minor children on the internet without their parent’s consent.
Accordingly, HPISD demands that you immediately cease-and-desist all efforts to publish the Original Design and remove the Original Design from any and all internet sites where it is currently published. Please confirm to me by the close of business on Friday, May 7, 2010, that you have in fact removed the Original Design from any and all web sites on which it was posted.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
William L. Banowsky
UPDATE: From Hellen Williams, communications director for HPISD.
Ms. Reeves did not get in touch with Bill Banowsky on Friday, as requested. The link still goes to the password-protected site. We will continue to communicate with Ms. Reeves.