Campaign IP Violations Part 2 – Trump Sued for Copyright Infringement

Dorsey & Whitney LLP

In December, we blogged about the unauthorized use of copyrighted songs by political campaigns. Well, those campaigns should also double check the images they are using. Donald J. Trump For President, Inc. was sued in federal court in New York last week for copyright infringement by two nature photographers, Wendy Shattil and Robert Rozinski. They claim that the Trump campaign is using their image of a bald eagle staring straight at the camera to promote Trump’s campaign. “Plaintiffs’ particular [image] complements the direct and unflinching persona that Mr. Trump seeks to project to the American public,” the suit says.

The most prominent image copyright dispute in the recent history of political campaigns involved the iconic Obama “Hope” poster by Shepard Fairey. Fairey admitted that he based his image on an Associated Press photograph taken by Manny Garcia. In 2009, Fairey filed a declaratory judgment action to attempt to prove his creation was protected from copyright infringement by the fair use defense. After the judge suggested the AP was likely to prevail in court, the parties settled the claims without a final determination.

The lesson when choosing images to promote a candidate is simple: a little due diligence goes a long way. Just like with music, campaigns must be sure to get permission in advance before using copyrighted images.

Written by:

Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Dorsey & Whitney LLP on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.