Houston photographer Jim Olive shot this aerial photo of Houston out of a helicopter. While he owns the copyright, Olive said many Houston organizations use the photo as their own and do not pay him for using it. He accuses the University of Houston of repeatedly using his photo in its marketing materials. The Supreme Court dismissed his case.
In 2005, photographer Jim Olive strapped himself to a harness and hung from a rented helicopter at sunset to capture a series of aerial images of downtown Houston.
The glittery skyscrapers. The aquarium’s Ferris wheel. The gently curving expanse of I-45 lit up by the headlights of rush hour commuters.
The University of Houston used one of his copyrighted cityscapes from 2014 to 2017 on its website without authorization or credit. When Olive sent a cease-and-desist letter, UH officials removed it from the site. But by then, Olive thought, the damage was done. He sued alleging the university had taken possession of his photograph in violation of copyright law.
Sixteen years later he learned the helicopter ride and artistry and planning and “great expense and risk” that went into it were for naught in this case, when the Texas Supreme Court ruled UH was protected by sovereign immunity.