On Thursday we pointed out that Josh Mandel has been using copyrighted photos from the Columbus Dispatch on his website and his Flickr feed since January.

The two photos appeared on his campaign website for nearly eight months even while the site went through a series of redesigns (and a likely illegal transfer) from his 2010 Treasurer campaign to his current U.S. Senate run. They also appeared on his Flickr photo feed for the same time period.

That’s 2 photos x 2 websites x 8 months.

So here’s the question: what’s that worth?

I don’t know exactly but I’ll be calling the Dispatch tomorrow to find out – and Josh should too.

I originally speculated that the Dispatch might have allowed the use of these photos without payment, which would be considered an in-kind contribution and should have been recorded on Mandel’s campaign finance reports.

But it’s starting to seem more likely that Josh’s campaign simply used the photos without the permission of the Dispatch and without paying for their use. For 8 months. On two different websites.

Given the facts, there are really only two options here for the Mandel campaign:

1. immediately revise their campaign finance reports to include the use of these photos – regardless of the reason they were used – as an in-kind contribution from the Dispatch


2. pay the Dispatch the going rate for the use of the photos for the past 8 months and immediately update their campaign finance reports to reflect the expenditure

Make no mistake, we at Plunderbund have had our differences with the Dispatch. But that doesn’t mean we don’t respect the work they do and ultimately believe they deserve credit and compensation for that work.

If the Dispatch wants to avoid the appearance of a campaign finance scandal then they should be AGGRESSIVELY pursuing Josh Mandel for immediate and full payment of the licensing costs associated with the commercial use of these photos.

And they should be doing it now, before one of the other Ohio papers runs a story titled “Columbus Dispatch denies supporting Republican Senate Candidate”.