Anti-Gay Group Sued for Unauthorized Use of Photo in Attack Ads

Posted by on Wednesday September 26, 2012 | Copyright/Legal

©Kristina Hill

The Southern Poverty Law Center has sued an anti-gay group for unauthorized use of a photograph of a gay couple in political attack ads in Colorado earlier this year.

SPLC sued the Virginia-based Public Advocate for the United States (PAUS) for violating the copyrights of photographer Kristina Hill of Brooklyn, New York. The suit also alleges that PAUS unlawfully appropriated the likenesses of the couple in the photograph–Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere.

Public Advocate of the United States, which SPLC classifies as a hate group because of its anti-gay propaganda, used Hill’s photo last spring in campaign ads against Colorado state senator Jean White (who had voted in favor of allowing same-sex unions in Colorado) and against Jeffrey Hare, a candidate for the Colorado house of representatives. The ads were distributed as mailers.

Hill’s image of Edwards and Privitere, shot during an engagement session, shows them kissing with a New York skyline in the background. Edwards ended up posting the image on his blog, with Hill’s permission.

PAUS downloaded the image, stripped out the background, and replaced it with backgrounds of two different Colorado landscapes for the unauthorized campaign mailers. PAUS superimposed text that read “State Senator Jean White’s idea of ‘family values?'” in one mailer and “Jeffrey Hare’s Vision for Weld County?” in the other ad.

White was defeated in her re-election race.

“I cringe every time I look at what once was one of our favorite photos,” Edwards said in a press release issued by SPLC when it filed the lawsuit today. “All I see now is the defiled image used to attack our family and our community. All we want is justice for the pain that Public Advocate has caused us. ”

An SPLC attorney said in the press release: “This was just a cheap way for Public Advocate to avoid having to pay for a stock photo to use in their hateful anti-gay attack ad. It was nothing short of theft.”

Hill, Edwards and Privitere are seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

Related stories:
Civil Rights Group Demands End to Use of Same-Sex Couple Photo in Anti-Gay Ad
Wedding Photographer Might Sue for Infringement Over Anti-Gay Attack Ad


COMMENTS

MORE POSTS

Unsplash CEO Tries to Justify Copyright Grab

Posted by on Friday August 11, 2017 | Business, Copyright/Legal

The co-founder and CEO of Unsplash, the photo-sharing platform that asks contributing photographers to grant free licenses to their images, attempted to justify the company’s terms of use in a blog post written last week. The post follows outrage by professional photographers, who blasted the company on social media. Unsplash’s terms are terrible for photographers,... More

Photog Bill Frakes Leaves U of Nebraska Following Sexual Harassment Charges

Posted by on Wednesday August 9, 2017 | Copyright/Legal

Bill Frakes, the award-winning Sports Illustrated photographer, will not return to his position as adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications, after university administrators concluded he violated its policy prohibiting sexual harassment and “created a hostile environment” for a female student. University spokesperson Steve Smith told PDN last week,... More

PETA Giving Up on Monkey Selfie Copyright Claim?

Posted by on Monday August 7, 2017 | Copyright/Legal

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and photographer David Slater have told a federal court in San Francisco that they are on the verge of settling PETA’s copyright infringement claim over the infamous monkey selfie. The two parties, along with Blurb, Inc., a co-defendant with Slater, have asked the US Court of Appeals... More