ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta-based photographer is suing the campaign of Georgia’s incoming governor and the state Republican party, saying a copyrighted photo he shot was used in a campaign ad without authorization.
Kevin Liles, who regularly shoots photos featured in national news outlets, filed the federal lawsuit against the campaign of Gov.-elect Brian Kemp and the Georgia Republican Party last week in Atlanta. The lawsuit says a photo Liles shot in 2017 of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams was used without his permission in a negative campaign ad.
A campaign spokesman for Republican Gov.-elect Brian Kemp and a lawyer for the state Republican party did not respond to emails seeking comment Monday. Kemp was scheduled to be sworn in as governor Monday afternoon.
The photo shows Abrams sitting in front of portraits at the state Capitol. The lawsuit says Liles licensed the photo to The New York Times, which included a photo credit with his name when it used the photo with a May 2017 story.
Kemp’s campaign and the state Republican party copied the photo without Liles’ permission and distributed it online in a campaign ad in September, the lawsuit says. In doing that, they infringed his copyright and removed his copyright management information, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit asks that Kemp’s campaign and the state Republican party be required to pay his actual damages and any profits they may have received from the use of the photo or, if Liles chooses, statutory damages. Federal copyright law provides for statutory damages of up to $30,000, or up to $150,000 if infringement is found to have been committed willfully. Liles is also seeking payment of his legal costs.
Liles is the team photographer for the Atlanta Braves and also regularly contributes to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Sports Illustrated, among other outlets, the lawsuit says.