Bradfield Fights Back, the Yearbook Saga Continues

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.

                                                                              Sincerely,

                                                                              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.

31 thoughts on “Bradfield Fights Back, the Yearbook Saga Continues

  • May 10, 2010 at 10:53 am
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    She password protected it before the letter from the attorney was sent. You can still see the area asking for the password but since I don’t have it, I’m waiting to hear back on whether or not it’s down.

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  • May 10, 2010 at 11:06 am
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    I’m sure there are going to be plenty of people saying how horrible this is for Ms. Reeves, and how everyone is being unfair to her, etc., but don’t forget, she posted pictures of hundreds of underage children all to prove her own selfish point. She’ll be lucky if she doesn’t get sued.

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  • May 10, 2010 at 12:51 pm
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    i did not realize that my child’s photo was probably posted, without my permission, on the internet. i would NEVER allow that and have avoided putting any photos of my kids online thusfar. holy cow, who does this woman think she is?!! i’m pretty angry.

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  • May 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm
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    This is egregious. As a taxpayer, a Mad For Plaid donor and an avid supporter of HPISD, I’m incensed that our school district is forced to pay attorney’s fees and waste time on this issue. All the evidence suggests that Sue Ann Reeves acted inappropriately and needs to make amends by removing the yearbook from the internet. I’m very glad my kids’ photos are not in that book. You should be too, my dear.

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  • May 10, 2010 at 1:29 pm
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    Ridiculousness. Sue Ann was all up on the blog posting left and right and creating a single digit signed online petition when this went down. Now, after being found thoroughly in the wrong generally and legally speaking, she doesn’t have time to answer a proper legal inquiry/demand. I would say that this whole thing is silly; but it stopped being silly when she posted elementary school kids pictures along with their names on the web.

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  • May 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm
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    NOTHING vindicates posting pictures of children online without their parents written permission. I would think she is in a world of trouble! I am glad my kids are not in that yearbook, either!

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  • May 10, 2010 at 2:23 pm
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    I think she was in the right up until she copyrighted the yearbook and posted it on the net. She needs to do a mea culpa quick.

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  • May 10, 2010 at 2:27 pm
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    When that petition first got started the parents were being led to believe that it was a “Do you want to get the yearbook or not?” type of thing. It was misleading. Like an all or nothing deal.

    Now we are being told that she doesn’t even have kids at Bradfield. Seriously?!??

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  • May 10, 2010 at 2:34 pm
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    Not only is it still not down, it’s still hidden behind a stupidly obvious password.

    If I were to write out keywords for this whole ordeal, one of them would be the password.

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  • May 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm
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    I feel like “Guess the password” should be the next Park Cities People poll, if only it weren’t so easy. And where is “Bradfield CONGRESS”/”Sue Ann Reeves” in all this? Why so quiet now?

    Maybe she should change the password to “idugayearbookscandalholeandnowicantgetoutofit”. Or is that too long?

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  • May 10, 2010 at 4:20 pm
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    citygirl–she’s got kids at Bradfield

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  • May 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm
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    How hard is this? Take the book off the internet. I thought password protection was good enough, but a posted pointed out that the password will expire. As I said a week ago…I don’t want some fruitcake getting that specific information about my kids. I can PROMISE there are very few young children that would not be fooled by a person armed with all the info a yearbook can provide. I know, I know…things like this don’t happen in the bubble. But why should we invite it? Take the yearbook down now and quit costing the district money in legal fees. You had my support on this until you posted it without thinking of anyone but yourself. You said it was all about the kids not having their yearbook, but I care more about the safety of my kids. When this mess is over I hope someone tells us the total cost spent by HPISD over this stupidity.

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  • May 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm
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    She was never in the right. I am a room mom and was never once contacted for class candid shots. We had plenty to offer. When the problem was realized in March, it would have been simple to put out an all call to every one in the school via the rom mom system. She chose not to do that and instead shut down the ability to modify the pages by copyrighting the book — causing new volunteers to have to step up to the plate and recreate all of her work plus more in a very short period of time. That, combined with the fact that my child’s picture is online and in a ‘copywrited’ material without my permission, has me pretty disgusted.

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  • May 10, 2010 at 7:57 pm
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    Will someone please post the link to this lady’s site so I can guess the password and ogle your children? Thanks in advance!!

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  • May 10, 2010 at 9:07 pm
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    I’m a Bradfield parent and this is terrible. In my opinion she has really acted selfish and impulsively. I’m not happy that she has published my childs picture which she clearly had no right nor permission to from me and from lifetouch. Rather than to take this any further she has to admit that she is wrong. Which is apparent that she has a problem doing. Seriously to make the production of an Elementary School yearbook such an ordeal is insane. Let it go make amends and go see a therapist and work out those issues!

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  • May 10, 2010 at 9:50 pm
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    Oh please! Shame on you Sue Ann. How can you continue to leave it up and use such a lame password? I guessed it the very first time. Do you really think it is OK to leave it up there? Take my kids pictures down NOW! I can’t believe that you have not been served papers to have this removed. I get it. Your mad. Lots of effort. Cute book. But you have seriously crossed a line with minor children’s personal pictures and information and are being a little brat about not taking it down. I hope your stand against Bradfield does not endanger any children. Just plain selfish at this point. Give me a break and give my children back their privacy.

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  • May 10, 2010 at 9:55 pm
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    And remember, in six months, you can go to the internet archive – the Wayback Machine- and find the site before it was password protected. Things you post on the Web never truly go away.
    Think about it.

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  • May 11, 2010 at 12:28 am
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    Wow – that was an incredibly stupid password, Sue Ann. Talk about easy to guess.

    A cease-and-desist letter and tremendous community outrage, and you’re still holding your ground for “artistic integrity”? Please stop acting like a child.

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  • May 11, 2010 at 8:42 am
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    The site, me.com, is hosted by Apple. Send a brief email to [email protected]. This behavior is a violation of their Terms of Service. Mr. Banowsky should send a registered “take down” letter to Apple as well.

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  • May 11, 2010 at 12:14 pm
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    I thought you guys were kidding about the password. Took me two tries. That woman has got to be the biggest dolt ever. And for the record; the not-the-yearbook-yearbook is still posted up on the web for any dummy (ie. me) to take 10 seconds and crack the password code to view; a full 6 days after the lawyer’s letter was sent.

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  • May 11, 2010 at 1:08 pm
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    Since she’s introduced the ages, grades and images of Bradfield children into public domain, it should be known that her email address is also out there. Just do a search for “sueannreeves” on google. First result.

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  • May 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm
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    Thanks bdad. I just sent an email. Come on Sue Ann, get over yourself and take it down. Many families at the school don’t even use facebook because they are worried about their own ID but you feel it OK to post images and names of our precious children? Wow.

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  • May 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm
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    Merritt – shouldn’t this be filed under “Reasons to hate the Park Cities”

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  • May 11, 2010 at 10:03 pm
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    I don’t mean to be unkind … but if I were this yearbook editor, I would be looking for a new house in Southlake right now!

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  • May 12, 2010 at 11:32 am
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    Is the site still up? I sent and email requesting it be taken down. No reply.

    If anyone is friends with Sue Ann, please do her (and all of us) a favor and remind her that, if she takes the site down and issues some kind of apology letter (“Oops, what was I thinking-I lost my mind for a couple weeks!”) most people would forgive her and get over it. People love to forgive, especially us mothers, as it takes too much precious energy to go on condemning and resenting people we have to look at everyday. I really wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to this lady, and I don’t even know her.

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  • May 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm
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    The pdf files that were on her personal page are no longer there. Password still works. Thank you Sue Ann for removing them!

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  • May 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm
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    As a former yearbook chair for one of the elementary schools, I must say I am amazed by this entire drama. In defense of the PTA volunteer- I have walked in her shoes! Getting parents to submit candid photos is a tough one. Everyone want their child represented, but the majority either do not know what a jpeg is and/or are to lazy to take and submit photos that can be used on behalf of their child. These are the very parents who complain. So….. was EVERY CHILD represented in candid shots when I created the year book? Absolutely not. I did my best, and that had to be good enough. The mentality that everyone gets a medal, award, trophy or even has their picture on a silly page in an elementary school year book is ridiculous. Welcome to life. Candid photos are just that……candid! This issue of CONTROL CONTROL CONTROL is out of hand. As volunteers, we do our best. It is a volunteer job. I was very conscientious about my work because I realized that it represented not only the school, the children and staff, but also me. I am sure this volunteer felt the same way. She did her best with what she had to work with. And one more thing………it takes hours and hours…..and hours to put something like this together if it is done correctly. Just take a look at some of them and you will recognize the difference. I actually feel sorry for the students at Bradfield. They are missing an important lesson that their worth is not defined by a photograph on a page and that their value may not always be recognized. That develops character and the ability to move on from disappointments in life. Hmmmm. Is that a new concept for parents who manipulate and control every aspect of their child’s life. Think so.

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