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Miami, FL Law Blog for Entertainment Law, Business Law, and Public Interest

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fashion photographer alleges "contributory copyright infringement" - what's that?

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

Here's a rather technical lawsuit that nonetheless might be interesting to any models working in Miami; television legal correspondent Dan Abrams's two websites are being sued by a photographer who claims that they used pictures she took without permission. Claims of copyright infringement are not uncommon, but what's noteworthy here is that the photographer is also claiming contributory liability for copyright infringement, which we will explain shortly.

First, the facts: The websites, Styleite.com and Medaite.com, allegedly published pictures that photographer Andrea Carter-Bowman took of Lotte Moss, the younger sister of fashion icon Kate Moss.

After Carter-Bowman's legal team served the websites with a cease and desist letter, they allegedly took the photos down, but then replaced them with links to other sites that still had the pictures posted (also illegally).

The photographer is alleging copyright infringement. She claims that even by providing a link to illegally posted photos, the websites were "contributorily liable" because they were knowingly assisting with copyright infringement.
"Knowingly" is the key word here. If Abrams Media Network knew that what it was doing is wrong (and Carter-Bowman says it did), then the company might be in trouble.

As we said, even though this case is a little...dry, it might still be interesting to professional in the entertainment industry, since so many livelihoods depend on control of pictures of oneself. Intellectual property rights are one of the chief ways artists, models and other creative professionals can protect their work and profit from it.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "Fashion Photographer Sues Mediaite Over Photographs of Kate Moss' Sister," Eriq Gardner, July 2, 2012


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