A paparazzi photographer wants to bag a quick win in the case he filed against Virgil Abloh this summer. After filing a copyright lawsuit against Abloh’s corporate entity Canary Yellow LLC on August 30 after he posted a photo of model Bella Hadid – toting a customized suitcase from a collaboration between Abloh’s brand Off-White and Rimowa – to his Instagram account without paying to license the photo from Jawad Elatab, counsel for the copyright-holding photographer says the buzzy designer has failed to respond.
Elatab asserts in his complaint that Abloh – by way of Canary Yellow LLC – engaged in the “reproduction and public display of a copyrighted photograph of model Bella Hadid,” one that he took of the supermodel in New York in March. While Vogue and the Daily Mail appear to have licensed the image from Elatab (i.e., entered into a contract in which the photographer grants specific rights to another party to use his/her image(s) in a specific capacity in exchange for compensation), the same cannot be said for Abloh, according to the complaint, which set out a claim of copyright infringement.
When faced with a lawsuit, a defendant must file an answer or a motion to dismiss with the court within 21 days in order to avoid default, neither of which Canary Yellow did in the case at hand, counsel for Elatab asserts in a new filing. “Defendant’s answer or response to the complaint was due on September 21, 2019,” notorious copyright attorney Richard Liebowitz – who is almost single-handedly responsible for a surge on photo copyright infringement lawsuits – asserts on behalf of Elatab, noting that “Defendant has failed to plead or otherwise defend the action.”
With such a lack of action in mind, Elatab is seeking a default judgment, which – if entered by the court – would enable him to “win” the case and collect damages from Cary Yellow without ever having to prove his allegations.
*The case is Elatab v. Canary Yellow LLC, 1:19-cv-08114 (S.D.N.Y.).