The Philadelphia-based photographer R. Bradley Maule is suing Philadelphia district attorney R. Seth Williams because the latter used one of his copyrighted photographs as his Twitter background, Courthouse News reports. When the artist asked the lawman to take the infringing image — an altered image of the Philadelphia skyline he had posted on his photoblog PhillySkyline.com, and which included his watermark — down, he claims he was told that his accusation of copyright infringement was “silly bullshit.”
“Defendant then suggested that undersigned counsel might as well go ahead and file this lawsuit for copyright infringement,” explains Maule’s lawsuit.
The district attorney reportedly told Maule that he didn’t see the offending image on his Twitter page because he was consulting the microblogging service on his smartphone, and therefore did not believe his claim.
Williams “claimed that there was no such photograph on the defendant’s Twitter webpage, because the defendant was looking at his Twitter account on his smartphone and there was no skyline on his smartphone rendition of his Twitter account,” Maule’s complaint says. “Undersigned counsel for the plaintiff then asked defendant to look at his Twitter webpage on a ‘regular person’s computer,’ to which defendant replied that he didn’t have access to a ‘regular person’s computer.’”
Today the district attorney’s Twitter page no longer has a background image, suggesting that Williams did eventually gain access to a “regular person’s computer.”
“At best, the District Attorney of Philadelphia has no idea how to use a computer, a smartphone, a Twitter account and/or a Twitter webpage,” Maule’s complaint concludes. “At worst, the defendant lied and/or misrepresented to the plaintiff, on no less than three separate occasions (May 21, 2013, July 26, 2013 and July 30, 2013) that he either did not have plaintiff’s photograph on defendant’s Twitter webpage, or that he removed the plaintiff’s photograph from his Twitter webpage.”
— Benjamin Sutton
(Pictured: R. Bradley Maule, courtesy PhillySkyline.com.)