23 April 2019Copyright

Photographer sues Clorox over cat portraits

Photographer Jill Greenberg is suing advertising agency Dentsu McGarry Bowen and consumer products manufacturer the Clorox Company for copyright infringement after they allegedly misused licensed portraits of cats on glass.

In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, April 16, Greenberg claimed that the companies’ use of her photographs went beyond the agreed scope of a licensing contract.

Greenberg licensed her photographs of cats on glass to McGarry Bowen and Clorox in October 2017 for the purposes of a marketing campaign for Clorox’s ‘FreshStep’ cat litter.

According to the suit, the contract allowed for use of the photographs for a “one-time project of limited usage and duration”.

The contract also “specifically excludes use of any copyrighted photographs in any video format”, the complaint said.

Clorox and McGarry Bowen allegedly modified the photographs and incorporated them into promotional online videos, as well as featuring the works in pop-up galleries in New York and Los Angeles.

The promotional videos were broadcast on various platforms including social media and the “Ellen” TV programme.

Greenberg also claimed that the photographs were converted into mobile and desktop wallpapers and marketed as “exclusive works of art from our Cats on Glass Gallery”.

The photographer is seeking damages, direct and indirect profits and licensing fees from the defendants.

WIPR has contacted representatives for Greenberg as well as McGarry Bowen and the Clorox Company for comment.

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18 June 2019   A Texas court has ruled the University of Houston System, which comprises four constituent universities, did not take a photographer’s private property by using an image he owns on its website.
30 August 2019   Photographer Jill Greenberg has reached a “favourable settlement” with household products manufacturer the Clorox Company over its use of her cat portraits in an advertising campaign, according to her lawyers.