THE FASHION LAW EXCLUSIVE - Tibi is on the hook for copyright infringement according to a new lawsuit. Matilde Gattoni, “an award winning French and Italian photojournalist,” filed suit against the New York-based fashion label – which was founded in 1997 by Amy Smilovic and is favored by the likes of Olivia Palermo (who is paid to front the collection), Jessica Alba, Solange and off-duty models – claiming that Tibi illegally used one of her photos to promote its brand.
According to Gattoni’s complaint, which was filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Southern District of New York, a federal court in Manhattan: “On or about September 20, 2016 Defendant [Tibi] copied and cropped the Photograph and placed it on their Instagram social media page to promote their company […] Defendant did not license the Photograph from Plaintiff [Gattoni] for its Instagram social media page, nor did Defendant have Plaintiff’s permission or consent to publish the Photograph on its Instagram social media page.” (The Instagram post has since been removed from Tibi’s account).
Tibi allegedly violated federal copyright law – which provides holders with the exclusive right to sell, display, copy, and modify the protected work (among other things) and prevent others from doing so – “by reproducing and publicly displaying [Gattoni’s Photograph on their Instagram page.” Gattoni alleges that “the foregoing acts of infringement by Defendant have been willful, intentional, and purposeful, in disregard of and indifference to Plaintiff’s rights.”
In a second claim, Gattoni asserts that “Tibi intentionally and knowingly removed copyright management information identifying Plaintiff as the owner of the Photograph.” This is a claim in itself: Violation of the integrity of copyright management information. (Note: Section 1202(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act defines the term "copyright management information" to include: the title and other information identifying the work and the name of, and other identifying information about, the author of a work – among other things). By failing to identify Gattoni as the owner of the photo, Tibi allegedly runs afoul of the law here.
As a result, Gattoni is seeking to recover from Tibi the damages that she sustained and “any gains, profits and advantages obtained by Tibi” in connection with the allegedly infringing activities, or up to $25,000 for each violation.
Neither party was available for immediate comment.
* The case is GATTONI v. TIBI, LLC, 1:16-CV-07527.