If you head over to Josh Mandel’s campaign website one of the first things you’ll see are two very nice-looking photos of Josh.

One is of Batchelder swearing in Mandel as treasurer. The other is Mandel with Marine Gunnery Sergeant Benjamin Akins. Both photos were taken by Fred Squillante and both photos belong to the Columbus Dispatch.

These photos both appear on his Flickr feed as well, which indicates the photos were uploaded on January 25th, 2011.

Neither location indicates who took the photos or the fact that they are from the Dispatch.

The Dispatch’s photo page indicates that the use of any of their photographs on any website “is considered commercial use” and photos can not be used in this manner “without the express permission of the copyright owner of the photograph.”

The photos clearly have value and clearly the property of the Dispatch..

According to campaign finance reports, Josh has made paid the Cleveland Jewish News over sixty five hundred dollars. He’s also made payments to the Sun News in Valley View and the Gazzette Newspaper in Brecksville. But no payments were made to the Dispatch.

So it seems like there are a number of possible options here. Maybe Josh Mandel never got the express permission of the Dispatch and he has been using copyrighted material on his website without the owner’s permission since January.

The other option is that he did get the expressed permission of the Dispatch to use the photos but was not charged. This would count as an in-kind Donation from the Dispatch. But no such donation is listed in Mandel’s campaign finance reports.

Josh fancies himself an expert on all things monetary. Did he REALLY not know he is supposed to pay for copyrighted material?

Or did the Dispatch let him use these photos for free, making an unreported campaign contribution to Mandel?