ABC Hit With Copyright Suit Over Paparazzo's Anthony Weiner Video

A photographer says his 2013 video of Anthony Weiner was used by ABC without his permission.
'ABC World News'  Courtesy of ABC

A video journalist is suing ABC over a clip of former congressman Anthony Weiner, which he says the news outlet used without paying for. 

In a copyright infringement suit filed Monday against American Broadcasting Company, Paul Adao is described as a "visual journalist" who specializes in taking candid photographs and video footage of celebrities and licensing them to online, print and television outlets for a fee. (If Adao's name sounds familiar, it might be because he was the freelance photographer who got into a scuffle with Alec Baldwin back in 2013.)

During his 2013 New York City mayoral campaign, Weiner’s press secretary Barbara Morgan “went on a tirade calling campaign intern Olivia Nuzzi numerous expletives” after Nuzzi wrote an article for NY Daily News about her experience as an intern, according to the complaint.

That prompted Adao to ask Weiner on video if Morgan was still with his campaign, to which the embattled politician replied "You bet." Adao then licensed the video to the New York Post, which featured it in an online article.

ABC, the suit claims, did not have a license or other permission to air the video. 

"ABC infringed Plaintiff's copyright in the Video by reproducing and publicly displaying the Video during its telecast of ABC World News on or about July 31, 2013," states the complaint. "ABC is not, and has never been, licensed or otherwise authorized to reproduce, publicly display, distribute and/or use the Video."

Adao is seeking either actual damages and defendant's profits attributable to the infringement or statutory damages of up to $150,000 per copyrighted work infringed.

This suit comes on the heels of a copyright infringement settlement between Fox News and North Jersey Media Group. In that case, on the anniversary of 9/11, Fox News staffers posted on Facebook Thomas Franklin's now-iconic photo of three firefighters raising the American flag at the ruins of the World Trade Center site alongside the historic photo of four U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Iwo Jima during World War II, with a caption of "#neverforget." The terms of the settlement are confidential.

An ABC spokeswoman had no comment on the lawsuit. 

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