6 April 2018Copyright

Dismissal requested in Tupac image copyright suit

A photographer who accused reality TV personalities Kendall and Kylie Jenner of using his copyright-protected image of late rapper Tupac Shakur has asked for the case to be dismissed.

The stipulation for dismissal was filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California on Wednesday, April 4.

Photographer Michael Miller filed the lawsuit against the Jenner sisters, as well as their companies Kendall Jenner Inc and Kendall + Kylie Inc, in July last year.

According to the complaint Miller’s portfolio includes celebrities Angelina Jolie and Jack Nicholson. His photographs of rapper Tupac were exhibited in museums.

The suit said that “Miller at no time sought to associate his work with Kendall or Kylie or any of their companies”, given their association with “two of the worst public relations disasters in recent memory”.

The sisters were accused of misappropriating and exploiting at least two of Miller’s photographs of the late rapper, “slapping the iconic photographs on garments and overlapping them with dubious imagery and text” and selling them for more than $100 per item.

According to Miller the copyright infringement caused the photographer to suffer “actual, general, and special damages”. He sought up to $150,000 per photograph in damages as well as injunctive relief.

As reported by  WIPR the items were part of a t-shirt line featuring images of either Kendall or Kylie, superimposed over a photograph of famous rappers and other musicians. Kendall  apologised and stopped selling the shirts after a backlash from photographers and artists, the BBC said.

The stipulation for dismissal said the parties wanted to dismiss the matter with prejudice, with each party bearing its own costs and attorneys’ fees. WIPR has approached the parties’ representatives to obtain information on whether a settlement has been reached.

Photographer Al Pereira also filed a copyright suit against the sisters’ business last year, at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

He initially claimed a photograph he had taken of three rappers was used on t-shirts sold by Kendall + Kylie Inc. Pereira re-filed his suit last week against 3072541 Canada Inc, a California-based corporation which holds the licence for the Kendall + Kylie brand.

On the same day, at the same court, Canada Inc filed a motion to recover at least $22,000 in legal fees from Pereira as well as his attorney for what the company said was a “frivolous” suit brought by a “copyright troll”. According to the motion, Pereira was continuing his “attempted extortion” of the sisters’ fashion brand.

According to Jeffrey Kubulnick of Brutzkus Gubner Rozansky Seror Weber, who represents Canada Inc in the Pereira dispute, neither Kylie nor Kendall Jenner has ever personally been a party “or otherwise involved in the case”.

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