Gun-Toting Couple Sues Photographer, Demands Copyright to Viral Photo

Photography News

The gun-toting couple made who made headlines for waving guns at protesters marching near their home has sued the photojournalist who captured one of the famous photos of them.

St. Louis lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey gained notoriety back in June after United Press International (UPI) photographer Bill Greenblatt and a group of other photojournalists captured them pointing guns at racial injustice protesters marching through their private street.

After learning that the McCloskeys had turned one of his famous photos into personal greeting cards, Greenblatt recently sent the couple a bill demanding $1,500 for the usage.

Instead of paying Greenblatt for the apparent copyright infringement, the McCloskeys are now striking back by filing a lawsuit against the photographer.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that in a lawsuit filed Friday in St. Louis Circuit Court, the McCloskeys claim that Greenblatt was trespassing on their property when he captured his photos of them.

The couple says Greenblatt’s photo contributed to their “significant national recognition and infamy.”

UPI and the print-on-demand marketplace Redbubble are also named in the suit and accused of profiting (alongside Greenblatt) from “t-shirts, masks, and other items, and licensing use of photographs bearing Plaintiffs’ likenesses, without obtaining Plaintiffs’ consent.”

Greenblatt’s photo has been sold on Redbubble products with “mocking and pejorative taglines or captions” that have led to “humiliation, mental anguish, and severe emotional distress” as well as death threats, the couple’s lawsuit states.

A selection of products featuring the McCloskeys found on RedBubble that are based on viral news photos.

It goes on to say that “Defendants acted outrageously and beyond all reasonable bounds of decency, with their conduct regarded as atrocious and intolerable by any member of a civilized society.”

In addition to seeking damages, the McCloskeys are even going a step further by asking the court to transfer ownership of all the photos Greenblatt shot while on their property.

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