Kendall and Kylie Jenner have been slapped with at least two recent copyright infringement lawsuits over their controversial “vintage” band tees, but it turns out, the Jenners are not the only ones on the hook for copyright infringement. Photographer Al Pereira – who filed suit against the reality television sisters earlier this month for their unauthorized use of his photo depicting Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G. and Redman – is also suing HighSnobiety for using the same photo.
According to Pereira’s latest lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Monday, HighSnobiety made use of the photo in connection with an article it published in March 2016, entitled, “How the Black Panthers Influenced Today’s Music & Fashion.”
As set forth in Pereira’s lawsuit, the menswear site “prominently featured the iconic photograph” in its article about the Blank Panthers but “did not license the photograph from [Pereira] for its article, nor did [HighSnobiety] have [Pereira’s] permission or consent to publish the photograph on its website.”
Almost certainly problematic for Pereira – aside, of course, from HighSnobiety’s alleged failure to license the photo? The credit that was given in connection with the photo: It was attributed not to Pereira but to “Kanyetothe,” the forum website, where HighSnobiety likely found it. Note: Kanyetothe is not named in Pereira’s suit.
Also worth noting: If HighSnobiety had, in fact, properly credited the photo to Pereira, even then it likely would not have been able to escape copyright infringement liability. In accordance with copyright law, infringement takes place when “a copyrighted work is reproduced [or displayed] … without the permission of the copyright owner,” regardless of whether a work is properly credited.
As such, even if HighSnobiety had properly labelled Pereira as the copyright holder, it would have still been infringing the photographer’s right to exclusively reproduce/display the photo in lieu of obtaining his consent.
This is just the latest in a string of recent copyright infringement lawsuits that have been filed against everyone from the Jenners and sister Khloe Kardashian, who was sued in April for posting another’s photo on her Instagram account, to Gigi Hadid, who was sued for that very same thing earlier this month.
And speaking of Gigi, designer Jonathan Simkhai was sued for copyright infringement for posting a photo of the model on his social media accounts without licensing it. Copyright infringement and lawsuits aiming to recover damages are in the air, it seems.
A representative for HighSnobiety was not immediately available for comment.
* The case is Al Pereira v. Highsnobiety Incorporated, 1:17-cv-07261 (SDNY).