The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia
Title, date and keywords based on information provided by the photographer.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, subsequently the Weston State Hospital, was a Kirkbride Plan psychiatric hospital operated from 1864 until 1994 by the government of West Virginia, in the city of Weston. Built by architect Richard Andrews, it was constructed from 1858-1881. Originally designed to hold 250 people, it became overcrowded in the 1950s with 2,400 patients. It was forcibly closed in 1994 due to changes in treatments of patients.
Credit line: West Virginia Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
Purchase; Carol M. Highsmith Photography, Inc.; 2015; (DLC/PP-2015:055).
Forms part of: West Virginia Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
In 2015, documentary photographer Carol Highsmith received a letter from Getty Images accusing her of copyright infringement for featuring one of her own photographs on her own website. It demanded payment of $120. This was how Highsmith came to learn that stock photo agencies Getty and Alamy had been sending similar threat letters and charging fees to users of her images, which she had donated to the Library of Congress for use by the general public at no charge. In 2016, Highsmith has filed a $1 billion copyright infringement suit against both Alamy and Getty stating “gross misuse” of 18,755 of her photographs. “The defendants [Getty Images] have apparently misappropriated Ms. Highsmith’s generous gift to the American people,” the complaint reads. “[They] are not only unlawfully charging licensing fees … but are falsely and fraudulently holding themselves out as the exclusive copyright owner.” According to the lawsuit, Getty and Alamy, on their websites, have been selling licenses for thousands of Highsmith’s photographs, many without her name attached to them and stamped with “false watermarks.” (more: http://hyperallergic.com/314079/photographer-files-1-billion-suit-against-getty-for-licensing-her-public-domain-images/)