PetaPixel

Philly Photog Sues District Attorney Over Use of Photo as Twitter Background

ScreenHunter_98 Aug. 05 14.55

Today’s award for taking copyright seriously goes to Philadelphia photographer/blooger R. Bradley Maule, who’s suing the city’s district attorney for allegedly misappropriating one of Maule’s images as the background for his Twitter page.

Maule specializes in writing and photography about urban architecture, especially that of Philadelphia, as chronicled on his Philly Skyline blog. Maule says in his suit that he discovered this April that one of the images posted on his blog, a 2005 shot of the Philadelphia skyline manipulated to look more or less as it does now, was decorating the Twitter page for District Attorney R. Seth Williams.

District Attorney R. Seth Williams, courtesy Philadelphia District Attorney website

District Attorney R. Seth Williams, courtesy Philadelphia District Attorney website

Noting that the image was copyrighted and watermarked as such, Maule contacted the DA and asked him to remove it. Williams denied any infringement, said he only accessed Twitter via his phone so he didn’t even have a background image, and called the accusation “silly bulls–t,” according to the suit.

Maule’s attorney later tried to explain that viewing the Twitter feed on a “regular person’s computer” rather than a phone would show the image, to which Williams replied that he didn’t have access to a “regular person’s computer.” According to the suit, Williams “then suggested that undersigned counsel might as well go ahead and file this lawsuit for copyright infringement.”

“At best,” the suit summarizes, “the District Attorney of Philadelphia has no idea how to use a computer, a smartphone, a Twitter account and/or a Twitter webpage. At worst, the defendant lied and/or misrepresented to the plaintiff, on no less than three separate occasions” about his use of the image.

Maule is seeking unspecified damages and an injuction barring Williams from using the image, which appears to have been removed from his Twitter page.

(via ArtInfo and Courthouse News Service)


Image credit: “Large copyright graffiti…” by Horia Varlan


 
 
  • David Liang

    Whatever the story unfolds to be, you’d think DA would take any kind of accusation seriously. Of all people a DA should be wary of pleading ignorance as a defense.

  • jrconner

    Possibly, the DA didn’t set up his own Twitter account, delegating the task to a subordinate. Still, he’s responsible and damned well ought to know better, and to behave better. My compliments to the photographer for protecting his copyright.

  • Alex Minkin

    ‘regular persons computer’.

    lawl.

  • Eric Albert

    Has no idea how to use a computer but figured out how to remove the image in question?

  • Konrad

    Right, because he’s living in a bubble with no contact to other humans, making it impossible for him to get somebody to remove the image, if he really doesn’t know how to himself.

    You’re clever, I see your point.

  • Rabi Abonour

    That’s my thought. An intern probably made the page, but the DA still should have responded more professionally.

  • sheila752

    what Roger implied I’m shocked that people can profit $4616 in a few weeks on the computer. did you look at this page http://www.kep2.ℂom

  • Steven Wade

    How does a DA not have access to a regular computer?

  • bgrady413

    This DA has got to go if he is that ignorant and disrespectful. “…then suggested that undersigned counsel might as well go ahead and file this lawsuit for copyright infringement.” really asshat?! How is he protecting the citizens rights by being such a dick? He deserves everything he gets, and I hope the public there takes notice.

  • Eric Albert

    Perhaps this opens the door for Mr. Maule to approach the city as well? “@BasSlabbers @reservoir_dan @petapixel when my twitter was created a staffer got the background pic from the city’s website #knowthefacts” 9:31 PM – 5 Aug 13