Former White House photographer Pete Souza recently claimed that he is being threatened with legal action for displaying an image he took of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on his personal website.
Taking to Instagram, Mr Souza informed that he clicked the photo aboard Air Force One in 2009 during Mr Obama’s first overseas trip as president of the United States. He included the image in a photo gallery on his site after leaving the White House in 2017.
“Now I am being threatened with legal action for displaying this photograph on my website. Say what?” Mr Souza wrote in the caption of his post.
He claimed that he had been notified by a copyright enforcement company that he had infringed WENN Rights International’s ownership of the image. He also added that the photograph had been placed on an official gallery of Mr Obama’s first 100 days in office, and that there was no copyright involved in official White House photos.
“You can’t make this s*** up,” Mr Souza said. He further went on to say that he had been told that he was “legally obligated to compensate (WENN) for the damage caused by this copyright infringement”.
“So to recap: I made this photograph. It is in the public domain. WENN is licensing this image for publication. Copytrack is threatening to file legal action against me for displaying this photograph on my website, since their partner WENN claims they own the copyright to the image,” Mr Souza wrote on Instagram.
WENN has not publicly commented on the case.
According to the Independent, Mr Souza was the official photographer during Mr Obama’s two terms in office. He also served under Ronald Reagan from 1983 to 1989. He was given unrestricted access to the president at the White House, during official events and on overseas trips.
Mr Souza took most of the most well-known photos of Mr Obama’s presidency, including of a young boy rubbing the president’s head.