CHICAGO (CN) - A former candidate for U.S. Senate says a picture of him showing support for an Illinois politician was altered in a defamatory way and used against that state representative by his opponent.
Quenton Galvin and Jacob Meister filed the federal complaint on Dec. 31 against the Illinois Republican Party, Illinois House Republican Organization, Roderick Drobinski, Friends of Rod Drobinski, Jamestown Associates, and Majority Strategies.
Drobinski ran against Democratic incumbent Sam Yingling for the Illinois House of Representatives, 62nd District in the November 2014 election, and lost.
During the campaign, Drobinski allegedly authorized his supporters to print and mail several thousand 8.5-inch-by-17-inch flyers with a photo of Jacob Meister, a former Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois, taken and copyrighted by photographer Quenton Galvin.
The photo shows Meister driving a car in a parade in Grayslake, Ill., with a poster on the side advertising Sam Yingling for state representative.
Yingling's campaign website posted the photo, with permission, but Galvin and Meister say they did not give Drobinski permission to use their work or likeness.
To make matters worse, "the photograph was electronically altered to make it appear that plaintiff Meister was making off with a carload of stolen money from the Illinois State Capitol, clearly implying that he was somehow engaged in theft of public funds," according to the complaint.
Meister claims this alteration of the original photograph constitutes defamation.
Plaintiffs seek damages for copyright infringement, conspiracy, appropriation of image, false light, and defamation.
They are represented by David Axelrod, former political advisor to President Bill Clinton, and chief campaign advisor for President Barack Obama in 2008.
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