Maryland Historical Society Sues Local Brewery

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Photo of Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford at the opening of Peabody Heights Brewery, via Flickr/Maryland GovPics
Photo of Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford at the opening of Peabody Heights Brewery, via Flickr/Maryland GovPics

A picture is worth much more than a thousand words, according to the Maryland Historical Society.

The educational and cultural group is suing Waverly-based Peabody Heights Brewery for allegedly using one of its photographs on beer packaging and marketing materials. The brewery, which is located on the site of the old Oriole Park, uses a black-and-white photo of Oriole Frederick “Fritz” Maisel on its Old Oriole Park Bohemian. As the Baltimore City Paper reports, the Historical Society claims that the photo is theirs, and that Peabody Heights is violating copyright by using it.

Apparently, the brewery was under the impression that that image, and several other old-timey baseball photos they wanted to use, were in the public domain — until the MHS sent them a $15,000 bill for licensed, digital copies of the images. The brewery went ahead and used the images anyway, which resulted in the lawsuit; the trial is slated to begin this week.

It’s a good reminder that just because an image is on the internet doesn’t mean you can use it. Fortunately, there are plenty of great images that are in the public domain.



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