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
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…