A spokesman for reality stars Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s label said on Sunday it only sold two “vintage” T-shirts with late rapper Tupac Shakur’s image on them before pulling the pricey tees from stores. The Kendall + Kylie brand released a statement in response to the lawsuit filed on Friday by famed music photographer, Michael Miller, who shot the images on the shirts. The lawsuit accused the Jenners of using two images of Shakur without authorization from Miller.
According to a statement from the sisters’ label, the shirts with Shakur’s image were obtained from a company that had a valid license to sell them. The Kylie + Kendall brand superimposed images of the Jenner sisters or other designs over photos of musicians, including Shakur, Notorious B.I.G. and Ozzy Osbourne.
The statement went on to call Miller’s lawsuit baseless. “The allegations made are completely false and the lawsuit is baseless,” the statement said. “There has been no infringement or violation of anyone’s rights.”
As indicated by a recent lawsuit filed against Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters, it is entirely possible that Miller's photos were, in fact, licensed without his knowledge. Last month, Urban Outfitters and Forever 21 were slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit by a photographer who claims the retailers are selling t-shirts bearing photos he took of late rapper Tupac Shakur.
According to photographer Danny Clinch’s suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the retailers have made use of photos that he shot for Rolling Stone magazine in 1993 and 1996, without permission do to so. In that case, Clinch acknowledges that the images were, in fact, properly licensed.
Clinch (who holds exclusive rights in the copyright-protected photos) claims that the t-shirts at issue were produced by Bioworld and licensed through Planet Productions LLC and Amaru/AWA Merchandising Inc, and then sold by Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters. The problem, according to the lawsuit: Clinch never authorized Planet Productions LLC or Amaru/AWA Merchandising Inc to act on his behalf.
Chances are, if the Jenners' statement is, in fact, accurate, we have a similar situation at play in the case at hand.