Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

Damage Suit, Layoffs Add to Corbis Woes


In November, a federal court ruled that Corbis Corp. is liable for the loss of over 12,000 images taken by photographer Chris Usher. Usher sued Corbis in 2003 for damages when the agency failed to return all of the images he took on assignment in 2000 to 2001.

Though Usher had no record keeping method, he hired archivist Adrienne DeArmas to conduct a review. Corbis claimed that no more than 5,349 images were lost, but the court sided with DeArmas' calculation of 12,666 images.

In May 2005, a separate ruling had also favored a photographer against Corbis for losing about 40,000 images.

Amid this controversy, Corbis is expected to lay off 125 employees and close several offices by June 2008. Last summer, CEO Gary Schenk laid off 160 other employees and closed the company's assignment division. This year, Corbis also will be closing its Chicago office and seven international offices.