Say what you will about Alan Grayson; he’s brash, arrogant, outspoken.
One thing he is not is “subtle.”
As a liberal U.S. representative now seeking Florida’s U.S. Senate seat, Grayson has frequently skated the edge: from ethics rules to campaigning from his official House office space.
Now Grayson could be in hot water once again – over copyright infringement.
On fundraising material, as well as in the “Alan Grayson’s Emails” Tumbler blog, Grayson has been cribbing copyrighted images from some of America’s most well-known brands: Disney’s Minions; Austin Powers; shows on CBS, FOX, and HBO and more.
In both politics and media, many people have learned – often the hard way – that a quick cut and paste images off the Internet is not a good practice when asking for donations or selling a product. Securing rights to intellectual property is required, even if it is only minimal credit. It is particularly important in political fundraising.
Even schoolkids know not to use the work of others without proper credit.
Taken as a whole, Grayson could be facing unpaid licensing fees and royalties that add up to several thousands of dollars.
Between complaints about his involvement in self-named hedge funds to possible ethics violations by holding a campaign interview from his official House office, Grayson’s strategy always seems to be “the ends justify the means.”
And that points to a campaign lacking even a hint of subtlety.
Agree with them or not, there are rules governing such things – campaigns, ethics, and intellectual property. Sloppily grabbing copyrighted images off the Internet is not playing by the rules that apply to everyone, despite how badly Grayson wants a seat in the U.S. Senate.
A partial list of Grayson’s emails and other material using copyrighted images:
- 7/30/2015, Minions, copyright held by Disney
- 7/27/2015, Political cartoon, copyright held by Simmon Keith Barney
- 7/25/2015, Political cartoon, creative rights held by OtherWords.org
- 7/23/2015, Clip from Fox News, copyright held by FOX
- 7/21/2015, Allen West cartoon, copyright held by Miami New Times
- 7/14/2015, Political cartoon, copyright held by The Economist Group
- 6/30/2015, Clip from The Simpsons, copyright held by FOX
- 6/12/2015, Clip from the movie Get Smart, copyright held by CBS
- 6/8/2015, Newspaper photo of Denard Span
- 5/11/2015, Dr. Evil from Austin Powers, copyright held by New Line Cinema
- 2/2/2015, Alan Grayson and Bill Maher, copyright held by HBO and Real Time with Bill Maher
- 1/27/2015, “You can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you don’t have any” picture of barefoot feet putting on worn out shoes. Copyrighted held by “Trocaire and the Jesuits”
- 1/24/2015, Infinitesimal poster, copyright held by Hydra RKM Film
- 1/22/2015, Alan Grayson and Bill Maher, copyright held by HBO and Real Time with Bill Maher
- 1/6/2015, Fashion photo, copyright held by Thom Browne at Pitti Uomo
- 11/2/2014, Robert Redford’s “The Candidate” movie poster, copyright held by Warner Bros.
- 11/1/2014, American Lung Association poster
- 10/31/2014, Political cartoon, copyright held by Nate Beeler and the Columbus Dispatch
- 10/23/2014, Minions, copyright held by Disney
- 10/23/2014, Political cartoon, copyright held by Gary Varvel
Never satisfied with playing by the rules, Grayson even goes as far as mocking the few rules he has no choice but to follow.
In one example, donors were automatically entered to win a chance to join Grayson for a Bill Maher performance in Orlando. As with any online giveaway, there is legally required fine print.
But it’s never that simple with Grayson.
“Of course, there is the fine print. There’s always fine print. Void where prohibited, blah, blah, blah,” he writes.
“Look, forget the fine print.”
Also included his sarcastic online disclaimer: “Some assembly required … Batteries not included … Contents may settle during shipment … Use only as directed. … Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment … Apply only to affected area … Use other side for additional listings … All models over 18 years of age.”
Subtle, he is not.