Councillor sues over photo use

NILA 17-10-12 BE 6 Stapleford community hero Richard MacRae.
NILA 17-10-12 BE 6 Stapleford community hero Richard MacRae.

A councillor has threatened to take Stapleford campaigner Richard MacRae to court after he used a photograph on a petition without permission.

Mr MacRae, who runs the Stapleford Community Group, used a photograph taken by Broxtowe borough councillor David Watts to accompany an electronic petition about fellow Liberal Democrat Cllr Brian Wombwell.

Bramcote, David watts, Lib Dem

Bramcote, David watts, Lib Dem

The picture was of Cllr Wombwell, who has moved hundreds of miles out of Stapleford – the ward he represents – to Somerset ‘for family reasons’, but has remained on the borough council.

Mr MacRae, who unsuccessfully stood as an independent candidate for Stapleford in May’s county council elections, gathered 25 signatures against Cllr Wombwell keeping his seat, before abandoning the petition.

Bramcote Cllr Watts said: “There is nothing to stop a councillor representing a ward where he doesn’t live – it happens all the time, and so Brian was breaking no laws.

“However breaking copyright is stealing the intellectual property of another person. “

But Mr MacRae accused him of making a personal attack, despite work he has done for the Stapleford community.

“He’s trying to make it personal and political,” he said.

“He’s trying to discredit me when everything I do isn’t for me, it’s for the people that live round here.”

Saying Richard’s attitude was ‘cavalier’ and ‘extremely disappointing’, Cllr Watts added: “Richard has absolutely no right to use a photo that I have taken without my permission and he knows full well that I wouldn’t give him permission for a stunt like he was trying.”