Since the birth of photography, more than 3.5 trillion photos have been taken. Many of these have been archived on the Internet for the world to see. While some are available for public use, many are copyrighted, and any use or adjustment of the image must be approved by the photographer.
Social media has allowed Internet users to share images instantly, and while this ease of use is often a good thing, there are other times when photographers might wish their images weren’t so easily accessed.
On Sept. 19, Donald Trump Jr., the son of the Republican presidential candidate made headlines after tweeting a photograph of a bowl of Skittles with overlaid text comparing the candy to Syrian refugees.
The text read: “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”
Ironically, the British man who captured the image, David Kittos, was himself a child refugee who fled Cyprus in 1974, at the age of six, in order to escape the Turkish occupation. He has since sued the Trump campaign for copyright infringement in a Chicago federal court. The photograph, which was captured in Jan. 2010, was originally published on Kittos’s Flickr page.
“Each piece of candy in the photograph is randomly placed inside of the bowl, allowing their bright and boastful colors to become the centerpiece of the image,” said Kittos. “It would be beyond difficult to accurately recreate such a vivid image, given the challenge of replicating the exact lighting and exposure of the image, as well as assembling the arrangement of the candies.”
In the lawsuit, Kittos cites the Trump campaign, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, running mate Mike Pence, and Donald Trump Jr. as the defendants. According to the plaintiff’s attorney Heather Blaise, Kittos is seeking unspecified damages as well as a public apology from Trump’s campaign for using his work without granted permission.
While the photograph has been removed by Twitter, the tweet itself is still live.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 19, 2016
After the tweet was posted, a spokesperson from Wrigley, the parent company that owns Skittles, issued a statement condemning Trump Jr.’s comparison.
The statement initially appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, and is shown in the tweet below:
— Seth Abramovitch (@SethAbramovitch) September 20, 2016
Wrigley says that it has no involvement in the lawsuit.