Photog Charges Infringement, Distortion Over Anti-Immigration Campaign Ads

©Chris Floyd-Three unidentified men, Altar, Mexico, 2006

British photographer Chris Floyd reports that two Republican candidates for US Senate have used one of his images (right) in their political ads without permission, and branded the subjects of the image–three Mexicans photographed in Mexico–as illegal immigrants.

“The image was taken and used entirely out of context,” he says. “As well as the copyright issue there is the moral issue of distorting the facts behind the image.”

Sharron Angle and David Vitter, who are running for Senate in Nevada and Louisiana, respectively, used Floyd’s 2006 image in anti-immigration TV ads as part of their campaigns. Angle’s ad states outright that the men are “illegal aliens,” while Vitter’s ad implies that, Floyd says.

He photographed the men in Altar, Mexico while shooting a story about the Minutemen for British GQ. (The Minutemen are a US-based citizens’ volunteer group that patrols the Mexican border in an effort to stop illegal immigration.) Altar, Mexico is a border town where many would-be immigrants stock up on supplies before attempting to enter the US illegally. The subjects of Floyd’s photo were farmers from southern Mexico.

Floyd says it is unclear how Angle and Vitter acquired his image. It is available for editorial use only through his licensing agency, Getty Images, he says. Under pressure from Getty on the issue of copyright infringement, Angle’s ad has been removed from YouTube.

But Floyd says he is pushing for an acknowledgement of wrongdoing and an apology from the two campaigns. “It’s a principled stand, rather than an issue of cash,” he says. Floyd has posted more detailed information on his blog.

10 Responses to “Photog Charges Infringement, Distortion Over Anti-Immigration Campaign Ads”

  1. John Altberg Says:

    Right move by Chris Floyd and PDN in surfacing inflammatory and plainly wrong behavior at all levels…!

  2. Lorentz Gullachsen Says:

    It is so important that all photographers safeguard our copyright,so that we have redress to such abuse.
    I think Chris Floyd and whoever represents him should sue and make an example of such bad practice,it maybe a hard option,but nothing stops people infringing copyright better than making them pay and been shamed in the courts .

  3. Werner Rolli Says:

    I have to thank Chris Floyd for taking action and I think he should take ’em to court over this.

  4. Antonio Vazzi Says:

    I get the copyright part, but if you float your work with a stock agency you can never be sure where it ends up.

  5. Keith Says:

    So untrue Antonio. Images get stolen from the web all the time, and many images are used for other reasons, or more then what they are purchased for.

  6. Gary Eason Says:

    Setting aside the illegality of what Angle and Vitter did, doesn’t anyone get the irony?!

  7. Gary Eason Says:

    Take #2 Oh right, so these guys were in Altar on vacation?

  8. Gary Eason Says:

    Take #3 Sorry about #2: totally off-topic. Moderator please remove!

  9. bob Says:

    Curious that the story doesn’t care to know the most easily knowable information; Were the images properly licenced or not? Otherwise all you have are baseless charges because the photographers failed to anticipate certain uses by political campaigns they oppose.

  10. A Short History Of Sharron Angle’s Bigotry…. - Politicaldog101.Com Says:

    […] It was pulled off YouTube — but only because of a copyright claim from a photographer who was pissed that his image of farmers in southern Mexico was being taken out of context. (It was being […]