The former Grifter-in-Chief, Donald Trump, has blazed a unique trail in American politics. There has never been a political leader who so thoroughly corrupted the presidency with crass commercialization. Although what else should be expected considering that Trump’s experience prior to his White House gig was as a real estate huckster and a reality TV game show host.
While in office, Trump refused to divest himself of his business interests, as his predecessors had done. He made fortunes off his hotel properties, forcing his staff and Secret Service detail to pay top rates for rooms at his resorts domestically and abroad. By some estimates he raked in more than $160 million fleecing political groups, foreign officials, and the American people.
So it should come as no surprise that Trump saw his mugshot as a ripe opportunity for profit. What ought to have been regarded as humiliating for him and the nation, he embraced for it’s potential to line his pockets and rile up his cult followers. Within hours of the mugshot being taken and published, Trump had t-shirts, coffee mugs, and beer koozies for sale on his website. He reported that he made more than $7 million dollars in the few days following his arrest and arraignment on charges of attempting to subvert democracy.
However, there may be a small problem with his vending operation. According to MSNBC’s Dean Obeidallah…
“Trump’s sale of that mug shot, taken by the Fulton County sheriff, may violate U.S. copyright laws. This could mean that theoretically, the millions he is making off that photo may rightfully belong to the Fulton County sheriff.”
That opinion was affirmed in a 2022 article in the University of Georgia School of Law’s Journal of Intellectual Property Law that noted that…
“In the context of photographs taken by law enforcement during the booking process, the author of the mugshot photograph is the law enforcement agency.”
Consequently, Obeidallah concludes that…
“the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office would have exclusive rights under U.S. copyright law to reproduce, sell or otherwise distribute Trump’s mug shot, except for certain uses like publishing the photo for news purposes.”
It is probably unlikely that the Fulton County Sherriff would seek to litigate this matter. While the Department is struggling for sufficient funding, it is not a retail operation. However, it is ironic – and rather hysterical – that the Trump camp has already threatened to enforce intellectual property rights that they absolutely do not have. Trump aide Chris LaCivita recently posted a threat to anyone else who might dare to profit from Trump’s felonious face, warning that if they do so, “WE ARE COMING AFTER YOU … you will NOT SCAM DONORS.”
That’s a predictable threat from the Trump Fraud & Con Ops, where they fiercely protect their right to be the only enterprise that can scam their donors. And even though Trump spent weeks bitterly complaining about the prospect of having to get a mugshot, he is now determined to turn it into a revenue source, since he can’t grift off of the White House anymore. After all, he has to have some way to pay his mounting legal bills.
- Post-Mugshot: Trump’s Phony Bravado Falls Apart as Poll Shows Most Americans Say He’s Guilty
- Fox News Host Praises Trump’s Mugshot as Appealing to Black Voters Because They’re Pro-Criminal
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