Enfants Riches Deprimes (“Enfants”), Barneys, and The RealReal (“the defendants”) have been named in a copyright infringement lawsuit in connection with garments bearing a photo of legendary musician Lou Reed. According to the lawsuit, which was filed by photographer Mick Rock in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, Los Angeles-based brand Enfants created a wool sweater and a coat for its Fall/Winter 2016 collection with one of Rock’s original Lou Reed photos, which first appeared in Rock’s book, Mick Rock Exposed, in 2010.
Rock, an award winning legendary music photographer, who has shot “David Bowie, Queen, Iggy Pop, The Stooges, The Ramones and numerous other iconic bands,” alleges that the “defendants infringed his [federal] copyright in the photograph by reproducing and publicly displaying the photograph on its Sweater and Coat,” which respectively retailed for $2,730 and $1,160.
Specifically, Rock claims that “Enfants did not license the photograph from [him] for its Sweater or Coat, nor did Enfants have [his] permission or consent to use the photograph on its Sweater or Coat.” Similarly, neither well-known department store Barneys nor luxury re-sale website The RealReal have licensed the photograph. They have also allegedly failed to obtain Rock’s permission or consent to use the photo or sell garments bearing the photo.
In fact, Rock asserts that the “defendants are not, and [have] never been, licensed or otherwise authorized to reproduce, publically display, distribute, sell and/or use the photograph.”
Far from an entirely unknown brand, Enfants, which was founded in 2012 by designer Henri Alexander, has been labeled “Hollywood’s answer to Vetements” by The Hollywood Reporter. Vogue noted that the brands $300+ t-shirts have “quietly garnered a cult-like following of celebrities, like Rita Ora, Jared Leto, and Miley Cyrus.” Still yet, the brand boasts an impressive array of boutique stockists, such as Maxfield in L.A., Milan’s Excelsior and The Webster in Miami.
In addition to injunctive relief, which would immediately and permanently bar Enfants from selling garments bearing the photo at issue, Rock is seeking “actual damages and [any] profits [made by the defendants as a result of their use of the photo] and gains or advantages of any kind attributable to [the defendants’] infringement of [Rocks’ Photograph; or alternatively, statutory damages of up to $150,000 per copyrighted work infringed.” Rock is also asking the court to require the defendants to pay all “costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees” in connection with this lawsuit.
According to a statement from Rock's counsel, Richard Liebowitz, "Enfants Riches Deprives, a prominent clothing company, copied Mick's iconic photograph of Lou Red and placed it on a sweater and coat all without permission from Mick. They are selling the sweater and coat in Barneys New York and also on The RealReal Website for a significant price tag."
The other parties were not immediately available for comment.
* The case is Mick Rock v. ENFANTS RICHES DEPRIMES, LLC, BARNEYS NEW YORK, INC., and THE REALREAL, INC., 1:17-cv-02618 (SDNY).