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NY City may sue former cop over 9/11 photo book

Reuters | August 23 2006

New York City wants the profits from a new book of photographs of the Sept 11 attacks to go to charity and may sue the former city police officer who took them, a city official said on Tuesday.

New York City law department counsel Gerald Singleton said the city was considering a lawsuit against John Botte whose book "Aftermath" was published on Tuesday by ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins. The rights to the photographs belong to the city, and Botte did not seek permission to publish the book, Singleton said.

"He was taking pictures while on duty, at the direction of the department and while he was in the employ of the city," Singleton told Reuters.

Singleton said he has agreed to give attorneys for ReganBooks several weeks to respond to the city's concerns before he files the suit in September.

"The City is not trying to stop publication of the book," Singleton said. "The City is just interested in seeing that Botte does not profit personally from the publication of this book."

The book will have a first print run of 30,000 copies, ReganBooks spokesman Greg Sullivan said. He declined to comment on the city's case and Botte did not immediately respond to requests for comment put to him through the publisher.

Profits from another book of photographs taken by police officers, "Above Hallowed Ground," were donated to the New York City Police Foundation and the City wanted the same arrangement for Botte's book, Singleton said.

Singleton said Botte had taken all the pictures "using privileged access he received in his capacity as a member of the NYPD, and while being paid by the City."

HarperCollins is a division of News Corp..

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