Thursday, September 27, 2012

Anti-gay group steals men's wedding portrait for homophobic mailer

Copyright Kristina Hill
The photo above celebrates the 2010 engagement of Tom Privitere and Brian Edward. Taken (and legally owned) by Brooklyn photographer Kristina Hill, it is an intimate portrait of two men intending to formalize their life together (NY State legalized same-sex marriage the next year, but they had already wed in Connecticut).

Below is a direct mail sent to constituents of Colorado State Senator Jean White (R), a proponent of same-sex "civil unions," by Public Advocate of the United States.

From their horrible web site:

Public Advocate offers strong and vocal opposition to :
  • Same sex marriage and the furtherance of so-called "Gay Rights";
  • The National Endowment of the Arts or taxpayer supported art and the federal funding and endorsement of pornography and obscenity as legitimate forms of art from any agency;
  • The mainstream media's promotion and glorification of drug abuse, teenage sex, gangs, atheism, homosexuality and other immoral behavior and beliefs;
  • The passage of hate crimes and thought control legislation that creates inequality in our state and federal legal systems and singles out Christians or moral thinking people for persecution, fines, and harrassment by the government at any level;
  • "Pro-choice" or abortion strengthening legislation that upholds or expands the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973;
  • The creation of special classes of Americans at the expense of the traditional American family.
(Bafflingly, they also claim to support "Equality under the law, regardless of one's sexual orientation")

You'll note that they have no statement on intellectual property laws. But Tom, Brian and Kristina do. They're suing PAUS (what a lovely acronym) in U.S. District Court, seeking damages, costs and attorney fees for the allegedly unauthorized use of the copyrighted photo.

When contacted by NBC News, PAUS President Eugene Delgaudio said  he was looking into it but did not elaborate.

The complaintants' attorney, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Christine Sun, told NBC:

“The use of Tom and Brian’s likenesses, or of Kristina’s copyrighted photo, was wholly gratuitous. Public Advocate could have just paid for a stock photo of a gay couple kissing but instead Public Advocate decided to take this very personal photo of this happy moment and use it to attack gay people.  … the doctrine of fair use is not intended to allow people to use copyrighted work just because it’s cheaper than paying for something.”  
A fair warning for all marketing people, homophobic or not.

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