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Donald Trump’s Mug Shot Merchandise Move May Cost Him His $7 Million Profit

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Leave it to Donald Trump to try and make money off of his Fulton County mug shot while possibly violating U.S. copyright law at the same time. The former president knew his voter base would eagerly buy merchandise with his face boldly emblazoned on it, but his lawyers should have checked on the legalities of this first.

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According to Politico, Donald Trump earned over $7 million in sales, from t-shirts to the “Never Surrender” coffee mugs, in the first week after he was indicted in the Georgia election interference case. However, a 2022 article in the University of Georgia School of Law’s Journal of Intellectual Property Law noted, “In the context of photographs taken by law enforcement during the booking process, the author of the mugshot photograph is the law enforcement agency.”

Booking photo of Donald J. Trump Booking Photo as provided by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office in Fulton County in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday August 24, 2023.

That could mean that if the Fulton County sheriff wants to go after Donald Trump for those profits, he might have the legal ground to do so. And as MSNBC pointed out, Fulton County “just happens to be in desperate need of funds to address the horrific conditions in the Fulton County Jail.” It could be the perfect storm of legal events for the former president, who is already in enough hot water.

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The irony of it all is that Donald Trump’s adviser, Chris LaCivita, threatened to go after anyone who created their own line of merchandise from the former president’s mug shot. “If you are a campaign, PAC, scammer and you try raising money off the mugshot of @realDonaldTrump and you have not received prior permission …WE ARE COMING AFTER YOU you will NOT SCAM DONORS,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter). That tweet won’t age well if the Fulton County sheriff decides to take legal action against Donald Trump — it’s another brewing battle for the former president.

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