From American University Intellectual Property Brief:
In March 2016, Peterman photographed Rob Quist, a musical performer and Democratic candidate for Montana’s only seat in the US House of Representatives. The Montana Democratic Party contracted Peterman to cover the Mansfield Metcalf Celebration campaign event. Afterwards, she gave both the Party and the Quist Campaign limited license to use the photo of Quist, as well as other photos.
On May 9, 2017, Peterman was alerted by a friend that the Republican National Committee (RNC) had used one of her photographs on a mailer. The picture was overlaid with text reading, “For Montana Conservatives, Liberal Robert Quist Can’t Hit the Right Note.” An RNC spokesperson said the photo was taken from the Quist Campaign’s Facebook page. Peterman says that she never gave permission for anyone outside of the DNC or Quist’s campaign to use the photos, and they are committing copyright infringement.
. . . .
It is unlikely that Peterman will be able to obtain any monetary damages from the RNC. She registered the copyright on May 12, 2017, in order to be able file suit. When one party takes another’s copyrighted material, the wronged party may only sue for statutory damages if the material was already registered. Because Peterman’s photo was not registered, she can only sue for actual damages. Actual damages can be obtained when there is proven loss to the offended party. Currently, it is unclear whether she planned to use the photograph for anything besides licensing it to the Democratic Party of Montana. If she did have another use for the photograph, she would need to produce evidence that she would have made a profit in such an endeavor, and prove that the RNC prevented her from making this profit.
Link to the rest at American University Intellectual Property Brief
PG wondered what attorney might have filed this suit. Court documents list the attorney’s name as Erin M. Erickson.
Here’s an excerpt from Ms. Erickson’s professional bio as it appears on her law firm’s website:
Erin was raised in Polson, Montana. She attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.
Erin attended the University of Montana School of Law. While attending law school, she served as a legal writing and research graduate teaching assistant; interned for the U.S. Attorney’s office; served as Vice President of Phi Delta Phi; and was a co-founder of the University of Montana Women’s Hockey Team.
. . . .
Upon graduating, Erin began her legal career with Phillips & Bohyer, P.C. In 2009, she became a shareholder in the current firm, Bohyer, Erickson, Beaudette & Tranel, P.C.
Erin is admitted to practice in all Montana State and Federal Courts, as well as the Confederated Salish & Kootenai and Blackfeet Tribal Courts. She has considerable experience practicing within the Montana Human Rights Bureau and the Department of Labor and Industry. Erin’s primary areas of practice include: insurance defense, insurance coverage, bad faith, employer liability, employment and labor law and EEOC compliance.
Erin is a member of the State Bar of Montana, the Western Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Defense Research Institute (DRI). She has presented at various continuing legal education seminars in the areas of labor and employment law. Erin has also presented seminars to insurance claims professionals throughout the Northwest on a variety of insurance related topics.
PG says this is a perfectly respectable bio but it doesn’t reflect any expertise in copyright or IP law.