Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

Seattle Photographer Settles ‘Dance Step’ Lawsuit


A copyright protection lawsuit filed by a Seattle sculptor against photographer Mike Hipple was recently settled just days before a trial was scheduled to begin on July 11.

In the suit, sculptor Jack Mackie claimed that a photograph of one of his iconic art installations, taken by the Seattle-based Hipple in 1997, was in violation of Mackie’s copyright protection. Mackie had discovered Hipple’s image in 2007 in the portfolio of AGE Fotostock agency.

The sculpture in question, “Dance Steps on Broadway,” is a well-known series of bronze footprints inlaid in a city sidewalk, showing the steps to the mambo and other dances. As part of his defense, Hipple stated that he did not realize that photographing public artwork violated copyright laws.

This is not the first time Mackie has entered into legal disputes over this installation. In 1995, he sued a graphic designer for using his imagery to promote a Seattle Symphony concert series. Mackie sought $100,000 or more in damages, but was awarded just $1,000 for actual damages.

The terms of the Hipple-Mackie settlement have not been released.