The St. Louis couple who waved guns at demonstrators during a protest this summer have been invoiced for using the infamous photo on their Christmas cards. According to Tech Dirt, Mark and Patricia McCloskey printed up around 1,000 copies of the picture, which was captured by UPI photographer William Greenblatt. Now, Greenblatt has sent the McCloskeys a $1,500 bill for their use of his photo.
After introducing himself in a letter sent with the bill, Greenblatt wrote, "It has been brought to my attention that one of my images of you during the June 28, 2020 event at your home, is now serving as a Christmas card." He added, "I did not grant permission for this to be used in this manner. Downloading images to use as needed is clearly a violation of the National Copyright Act. I am in the business of selling images. I do not give them away for free. Enclosed you will find an invoice for $1500.00, a normal charge for an image such as yours. Al Watkins suggested I send this invoice to you." Greenblatt concluded the letter by writing, "Thank you in advance for your understanding of this matter."
William Greenbladt, a photojournalist, who took this photo of the McCloskey's pointing guns at protestors sent them a $1500 bill because they lifted the photo and used it as a Christmas card. pic.twitter.com/EpdRSp19Hx— Michael Cali (@cali_photo) November 5, 2020
Greenblatt's invoice for the photo's use comes after it was reported that the McCloskeys are suing him for capturing it. According to a report from St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the couple's lawsuit claims that Greenblatt was trespassing on their property when he snapped it. The couple claims that the image — which shows Mark pointing an AR-15 rifle at protestors and Patricia aiming a semiautomatic handgun — has contributed to their "significant national recognition and infamy."
The McCloskeys also argued that the image being printed on Redbubble merchandise is typically "accompanied with 'mocking and pejorative taglines or captions,' causing them 'humiliation, mental anguish, and severe emotional distress.'" They also stated that the image has caused them to receive death threats. "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," the couple writes in their lawsuit. The McCloskeys are seeking damages and asking the court to transfer ownership of the photo to them.