The World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach, Florida has threatened Thomas Hawk with a $2 million lawsuit because he took photos and uploaded it to Flickr. However this isn’t the first time that Hawk was kicked out of a museum for taking photos or being harassed for taking photos. Below is a blog post that Hawk wrote and the museum’s response:
Hawk wrote on the following blog post, which has been deleted since:
The World Erotic Art Museum in Miami is trying to sue me for a minimum of $US2 million for posting photographs that I took in their Museum on Flickr.
[In their] complaint they accuse me of violating their policy stated at their entrance saying that the museum prohibits professional or flash photography.
I saw no sign when I visited the museum.
However, I took no flash photographs in the museum, and Flickr (where I posted the images) is strictly defined as a non-commercial photosharing site. I have not sold any images of that I took at the museum and I have not profited one cent on any the images that I posted on Flickr. What?s more the complaint says ?at no time did Plaintiff or Plaintiff?s agents give express or implied permission or authorization to Defendant to take the photographs.? This is a bald faced lie. One of the employees at the museum in fact approached both me, and my friend Mo, who were taking photos to talk to us about them. He specifically asked me if I was making a book and I said no. He said fine and we continued photographing in the museum at the time.
Further Flickr explicitly describes itself as a non-commercial site. This is not professional photography.
Further the museum filed a DMCA request fraudulently and had Flickr remove many images that they do not in fact own copyright to.
The museum owner and curator Naomi Wilzig said that visitors are allowed to take photos, but it is an unspoken and unwritten understanding that no one would ever post something explicit online — especially photos that involve penetration. Wilzig uploaded 334 photos on his Flickr account, many of them being explicit. Wilzig believes that kids are at risk of seeing them online as a result.