Winging it? Trump sued for using ‘iconic’ bald eagle photo without permission

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Donald Trump is still flying high as he moves closer to the 2016 Republican nomination, but two photographers are trying to bring him back down to Earth with a lawsuit claiming he used their bald eagle photo to sell merchandise and promote his campaign.

The portrait in question was taken by Robert Rozinski and Wendy Shattil about 36 years ago, and the two photographers say in a new federal lawsuit that Trump has been employing it to “deliberately” project a “direct and unflinching persona” to the American people, the New York Daily News reported.

"In 1980, Rozinski created 'Bald Eagle Portrait,' an iconic photographic image of a bald eagle," the lawsuit stated. "The Photograph captures a piercing, intimate, eye-to-eye moment with this majestic creature with near-perfect symmetry against a flawless sky blue background."

"It would be difficult, as perhaps an understatement, to recreate such an image given the challenge of replicating and capturing such a fleeting moment in nature,” the lawsuit said.

The photographers are demanding damages for direct and secondary copyright infringement and claimed that the Trump campaign declined to settle the situation privately, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Rozinski and Shattil say they first saw their image on Trump merchandise at a rally of his on February 9, 2016, when a supporter was holding a printed sign with their eagle photo on it. Screenshots appear to show Trump yard signs being sold on his campaign website that also featured the portrait. However, these signs are no longer available for purchase.

Trump seems to have multiple run-ins with most of his adversaries, and this bird is no exception. In December 2015, Trump posed with a bald eagle named “Uncle Sam” for a Time magazine story, but apparently got a little too close for comfort. When Trump reached over to the eagle’s stand, the bird reacted angrily, spreading its wings and lunging at the billionaire’s hand.

The footage went viral, with several people commenting on social media that if eagles can’t trust Trump, nobody can.