Las Vegas Photographers Brett & Jizelle PHOTO THIEVES attempt to Silence any who expose their thievery via threat of Defamation lawsuit
I just received a cease & desist letter from an attorney who says that he represents Brett & Jizelle Photography, Brett Baughman, Jizelle Ashley, and The Brett Baughman Companies. I have posted the letter below in full.
The issue at hand is photo theft and copyright infringement. Sadly, it is shockingly common for unscrupulous “fauxtographers” to steal the photos of actual working photographers, and then to try to pass those stolen photos off as their own.
The photography community is very lucky to benefit from the tireless efforts of Corey Doyle Balazowich, an excellent real photographer, who meticulously documents the nefarious work of fauxtographers before they have a chance to take down (and deny) their thievery.
Her website “Stop Stealing Photos” is a “wall of shame [that] is dedicated to photographers that feel that it’s okay to steal others work and post it as their own.”
The letter below from a William M. Whitman, Attorney at Law, of Whitman, LLC in Lansdale, PA, claims that Brett Baughman has been defamed by those who have shone the light of day upon and exposed his scrupulously well-documented serial photo theft.
There are two very serious problems with this “defamation” cease & desist order.
First, for defamation to hold up in court, the words and accusations against the defendant must be untrue. He has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Brett Baughman’s wide-spread theft of at least 62 images from scores of photographers is an indisputable fact. True speech is not defamation.
Second, Brett Baughman is currently liable for at least $9,300,000 for the 62 photos he stole, removed the copyright from, re-branded with his own copyright, and then posted as his own work all over various Internet sites like his own website, Craigslist, Facebook, Yelp, Linked-In, Groupon, etc.
Just last fall, Haitian photographer Daniel Morel sued Agence France-Press and Getty Images for the eight (8) images he posted on Twitter that were unlawfully stolen by AF-P, Getty and others, and he was awarded one million two hundred thousand dollars ($1,200,000) for their willful violation of the Copyright Act. He won additional awards from other agencies that used his work without authorization. “Several news outlets that published Morel’s images previously settled with the photographer for undisclosed amounts, including the Washington Post, CBS, ABC and CNN.”
Because of his extremely well documented serial theft and misrepresentation of at least 62 photos, Brett Baughman likely faces very serious civil liabilities and penalties. His attempts to quiet those who have exposed his theft by sending bullying cease & desist defamation letters that make veiled threats of DCMA takedowns will not change the fact that he is a photo thief.
His attempts to silence his critics via defamation lawsuit cannot possibly succeed for the simple fact that the charges being made against him are true.
DEFAMATION CEASE & DESIST LETTER RECEIVED TODAY from WHITMAN, LLC
William M. Whitman
Attorney at Law
April 169, 2014
Via electronic mail
Mr. Steven Joseph Fogarty
Re: Defamation of Brett Baughman, Jizelle Ashley,
and The Brett Baughman Companies
Dear Mr. Fogarty:
This firm represents Brett Baughman. The purpose of this letter is to demand that you:
1) cease and desist from further communications on your or other web sites, and
elsewhere, regarding Mr. Baughman, The Brett Baughman Companies, Inc., Brett
& Jizelle Photography, and Jizelle Ashley;
2) cease and desist from harassing Mr. Baughman and Ms. Ashley online and
3) cease and desist from using, publishing or referencing Mr. Baughman’s, Ms.
Ashley’s, or either of their businesses’ names, likenesses, or images online and
4) cease and desist from posting fake reviews and negative information online and
5) remove existing posts and other information, including language and/or images,
referencing Mr. Baughman, Ms. Ashley, or either of their businesses in any way;
6) retract any materials naming or using the likeness of Mr. Baughman, Ms. Ashley,
or either of their businesses in any way.
Your defamatory communications about Mr. Baughman, Ms. Ashley, and their
businesses have caused, and continued to cause, significant damages to them and their interests.
In addition to being unlawful and tortuous, they may well be violations of your terms of service
with the domain name registrar(s) and/or web site hosting provider(s) of the web sites where you
326 Silo Mill Lane ∙ Suite 400 ∙ Lansdale, PA 19446 ∙ www.whitmanllc.com ∙ 610-572-2860
This letter is sent without waiver of Mr. Baughman’s rights to seek injunctive and
monetary relief should he deem such action appropriate. Mr. Baughman also reserves the right to
take appropriate action against any third party, should he discover that any such party has
contributed to or induced any of your actions.
Please call me, or direct your attorney to call me, at (610) 572-2860, with any questions.
cc: Mr. Brett Baughman
Ms. Jizelle Ashley
GoDaddy.com Registrar Abuse Contact (via email)