GOP Group, Photographer Prepare for Trial Over Photo Flap

Photographer says in court documents the photograph of Quist was licensed to the Montana Democratic Party and Quist's campaign

By Justin Franz

HELENA — The Republican National Committee and a Montana photographer are preparing for trial over claims that the GOP group used her photo of 2017 U.S. House candidate Rob Quist in an attack mailer without permission.

Missoula photographer Erika Peterman says in court documents the photograph of Quist was licensed to the Montana Democratic Party and Quist’s campaign.

Quist lost to Republican Greg Gianforte in a special congressional election in May 2017.

Attorneys for the GOP group say the photo was taken from Quist’s Facebook page properly as “fair use” under federal copyright law.

The GOP has rejected Peterman’s settlement offers of $150,000 and $75,000. Peterman has rejected a GOP settlement offer of $25,000 in cash and attorney fees.

GOP attorneys say a compromise is unlikely, and both sides filed court documents this week in anticipation of a possible trial.

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