How Chris Parypa Dealt with Stolen Content

25 Apr

As someone who lives in Berlin, Maryland during the seasonal times of the year, I have quickly taken an interest in Chris Parypa, one of Ocean City’s most highly recognized reporters and photographers. In a recent weekend trip back to Maryland, I was lucky enough to interview him about the biggest ethical issue he has faced in his career.

“Chris” Eliyahu Yosef Parypa was born and raised in Poland before coming to America to learn the art of photography. Parypa is best known for his reporting and photojournalism work at “The Dispatch,” which in Ocean City is considered “the biggest newspaper on the beach.”

His work graced the cover of the paper for many years, until Parypa abandoned his reporting work, and pursued self employment as a personal and event photographer in 2o13.

Since leaving “The Dispatch,” Parypa has made his living photographing weddings, doing family portraits, shooting modeling portfolios, and aviation photography. Parypa solidified his name even further when his photos appeared in the¬†Official Ocean City Vacation Guide, published by Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, in 2015.

Because of his rising popularity, his photography has been picked up by many publications, and he has been compensated fairly. He never minded when others used his photography, until recently.

In June 2016, Parypa’s aerial image of Downtown Ocean City was used without his awareness in the advertising for the 2016¬†White Marlin Open, the world’s largest billfishing tournament.

The image appeared in the tournament’s flyers, billboards, and t-shirts that year.

“The tournament board never reached out to me about using my photo,” says Parypa. “It costs quite a lot to take photos of this nature, so not being properly compensated for its use is extremely frustrating, and goes against ethical integrity.”

Not only was Parypa not given the proper credit for the photo, but the photo that appeared in the design for the tournament that year was heavily edited, and Parypa’s watermark was removed.

“I didn’t even know where to begin when I found out that my photo had been stolen,” says Parypa. “My first course of action was to make my statement to the public, confirming that the photo was mine, and stating my opinion about the actions of the White Marlin Open.”

Since the story broke, White Marlin Open has properly accredited Parypa to his work, and payed him properly. At the time, they also pulled all White Marlin Open merchandise from retailer shelves.

In the world of photojournalism, it violates the code of ethics to not give credit where credit is due. It is also taboo to edit photos any further from “what the photographer’s eye would see.”

I think it is entirely unfortunate to see someone with such a good reputation in the reporting and photography community get ripped off as Parypa did. I believe situations such as these really call attention to making sure your work is protected, and respecting a creator’s work.

Since becoming a victim of theft, Parypa has taken action by speaking against the tournament’s reputation. He also better protects his work by enlarging his watermark and placing it in the center of his photos.


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