Suit: Philly district attorney ‘has no idea how to use a computer’

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams
District Attorney Seth Williams is accused of being computer illiterate.
Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro

A local photographer last week filed a federal copyright infringement lawsuit against Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams for allegedly using one of the artist’s photographs on his Twitter page without permission and dismissing claims of wrongdoing as “silly bulls–,” according to the suit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The lawsuit claims at the very least, Williams has “no idea how to use” a computer, smartphone or Twitter account.

Photographer R. Bradley Maule, of PhillySkyLine.com, in the complaint claims he in May 2005 took “a unique photograph of the Philadelphia skyline from the 18th floor of the Penn Tower” and altered it to show conceptual renderings of the Comcast Center and Mandeville Place, as well as to change a nearby billboard slogan to serve as a watermark, reading “Visit Philly Skyline Dot Com.”

Maule said he around April 1, 2013, discovered Williams had been using the photograph as a background picture for his Twitter page, an allegation Maule also made in an April 23 interview with Philebrity.

Williams and Maule allegedly met this past Election Day, May 21, when Maule said he was having lunch at Famous 4th Street Deli with attorney J. Conor Corcoran, who is representing him in the suit, when Williams “suddenly appeared” beside their table.

According to the complaint, Corcoran introduced Maule to Williams, saying, “‘You’ve been using one of his photographs on your Twitter page, and we don’t know who to ask to prosecute you for the theft!’”

The conversation continued in a friendly manner, but Williams denied having used the photo though it remained on the site, the suit alleges, claiming Corcoran also contacted Williams July 26 and received assurances the photo was taken down.

The complaint states Williams’ secretary Regina Purtell called Corcoran July 30 and asked for proof the photograph was still on the Twitter page.

Though Corcoran said he suggested Purtell look at the Twitter page on her computer, she allegedly told him she was unable to look at websites from her office computer and instead asked him to forward a screengrab to her email.

According to the complaint, within an hour of Corcoran sending the screengrab, Williams “himself then called undersigned counsel and again claimed there was no such photograph on [Williams'] Twitter webpage, because [Williams] was looking at his Twitter account on his smartphone and there was no skyline on his smartphone rendition of his Twitter account.”

Corcoran allegedly asked Williams to look at his Twitter website “on a ‘regular person’s computer,’” to which Williams replied he “didn’t have access to a ‘regular person’s computer’ and that any claim of copyright infringement in this regard was ‘silly bulls–,’” the suit states.

Williams then allegedly suggested Corcoran “might as well go ahead and file this lawsuit for copyright infringement.”

The suit points out Williams appears to have continued to use the photograph even after he was notified of the alleged theft on at least one occasion by Maule himself.

The complaint concludes “at best, the district attorney of Philadelphia has no idea how to use a computer, a smartphone, a Twitter account and/or a Twitter webpage.”

Maule is requesting a jury trial and more than $150,000 in damages stemming from the wrongful use of the photograph, as well as punitive damages and attorney fees.

“The DA does not believe it is the same photo,” Williams’ spokeswoman said in an email Sunday. “But he removed it from his Twitter account last week when this person’s attorney contacted the DA.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox walk off with…

Red Sox pick up first walk off win of 2014

MLB

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at…

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at 11 a.m.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings…

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings in Game 2

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.