Couple Uses Viral Picture in Christmas Cards, Receives $1500 Bill from Photographer


Depending on the viral photo, being the subject of one could either be a good thing or a bad thing.

Photo by Brittany Moore from Pexels.

But when you’re a viral photo that many people tend to view as emblematic of some kind of social division in the United States, well, you have to make the best of it.

That’s what St. Louis attorneys Mark and Patricia McCloskey did with the picture in which they are seen holding guns in front of their home during a protest. They decided to use the picture that made them famous as a Christmas card which makes perfect sense.

The only problem is that the couple forgot to pay the photographer.

And, as all of you probably know, politics doesn’t matter here but when you don’t pay the photographer…we’ve got issues.

Even so, things are pretty cool right now – the photographer sent them an invoice for $USD 1500 for the photo’s usage. Taken by United Press International (UPI) photojournalist William Greenblatt, the McCloskeys were even reportedly signing copies of the photo and giving them to people.

Greenblatt told PetaPixel, “Being lawyers, they should know copyright laws, but apparently they feel like they don’t need to adhere to any of that.”

“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,” the invoice to the McCloskeys states.

Yet there are hints that this could go sideways.

Mark McCloskey posted the invoice to Facebook with the caption, “This made my day: the photographer that trespassed into my neighborhood and stole a photo of us has sent us a bill!!!!! Now be nice and don’t bother him, but what chutzpah.”

That “now be nice and don’t bother him line” could turn into a real nightmare given how the Internet tends to do the exact opposite of just that. Looks like a drama is a-brewin’ on the horizon, eh?

Understandably, for Greenblatt, it isn’t about the money but rather it is about protecting his copyright, he explained to PetaPixel.

What do you think of the couple’s use of the viral photo in a Christmas card? Do you think they will pay the photographer’s invoice or ignore it and give us a chance to revisit all of this when the inevitable lawsuit comes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to check out our other photography news articles on Light Stalking by clicking this link right here.


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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

Did the photographer ask the couples permission to take the photo and then to share it in the press? They were on their own property!

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