Donald Trump campaign sued for copyright infringement over use of bald eagle photograph

Recently, the corporation responsible for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was sued in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.[1] The Plaintiffs are professional photographers who allege that the Defendant committed copyright infringement as a result of the Defendant’s alleged use of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted photograph of a bald eagle to promote Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and to otherwise sell merchandise without Plaintiffs’ authorization.[2] The allegedly copyrighted photograph is described in the Complaint as capturing a “piercing, intimate, eye-to-eye moment with this majestic creature with near-perfect symmetry against a flawless sky blue background” that would be difficult to replicate.[3] The Complaint alleges that Plaintiffs obtained a copyright registration for this image on February 12, 1991.[4] The Complaint further alleges that the Defendant incited third parties to infringe upon Plaintiffs’ copyright by encouraging others to print signs and other materials in support of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.[5]

The Plaintiffs claim that they attempted to reach out to the Defendant to resolve any issues as early as February 11, 2016, but were unable to do so.[6] The Complaint alleges counts for direct copyright infringement and secondary copyright infringement.[7] The Plaintiffs also seek injunctive relief, damages and attorneys’ fees.[8]

Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the information in this article.

Daniel Devine, Esq.
Santucci Priore, P.L.

[1] See, Wendy Shattil, et. al. v. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., et. al., Case No. 16-CV-2162 at Docket Entry No. 1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 23, 2016).
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Id.

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