Teen photographer says school threatened to suspend over pictures

A high school sophomore says his school threatened to suspend him because of some photographs he posted online and tried to sell.

But it's not the content of the photos that's the problem -- it's where and how he took them.

For months now, Flower Mound High School sophomore Anthony Mazur spends at least six hours a week taking pictures of school games using a school camera.

He had only sold a handful of the more than 4,000 pictures he's taken until March, when the school administration asked him to stop.

"He's like, ‘I'm asking you to take the website down. I'm not asking you to return the money you made. I won't report you to the IRS for not paying taxes,'" said Mazur.

After the 16-year-old says he was threatened with in-school suspension, a ban from activities and using school equipment, he stopped for now.

Attorney Shonn Brown deals with copyright law and isn't associated with Mazur's situation.

"Generally speaking, an art or photographer is the owner of their images," said Brown.

Even though it's a school camera, Brown says the only way Mazur wouldn't have rights to his pictures is if he was compensated by Lewisville ISD.

But Mazur says the district hasn't given him a dime.

The district's stance is that it's inappropriate for Mazur to take pictures of other students, using a school camera, when it's not a class project without their permission first.

In a statement, a Lewisville ISD spokesman says:

"Lewisville ISD's practice is if anyone attending a public district event takes photos using their own device from an area accessible to the public, the district would not interfere with those photos being posted to a third-party site."

"High school teenagers, they could be doing so much like, bad stuff, but here you have a kid who instead of doing mean things, he's promoting the school," said Mazur.

Photography may be all about interpretation, but Mazur believes through the lens of the law, his case is clear.

"I plan to go as much as I can, fight this as much as possible because I don't think they're right," said Mazur.

The Mazurs say that Anthony is getting support from artists around the world who are using the hashtag, #IAmAnthony in solidarity. 

The family is now appealing the school's decision to the Lewisville ISD school board.


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