image: Kendall & Kylie
It looks like Kendall and Kylie Jenner were able to quietly settle the strongly-worded lawsuit filed against them by photographer Michael Miller. You may recall that Miller, who is the copyright holder of two photos depicting Tupac Shakur, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Kendall and Kylie in connection with the wildly controversial vintage tees they released last summer, alleging that the famed reality television sisters “misappropriated and wrongfully exploited” two copyright-protected photos without his authorization, thereby giving rise to copyright infringement claims.
According to his complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in July, Miller alleged that an association with the Jenners – who he called “internet and reality television personalities known for their ostentations displays of wealth on social media” – is “particularly problematic” for him.
Miller specifically name-checked Kendall as an issue due to her being “complicit in not one but two of the worst public relations disasters in recent memory,” referring to her Pepsi commercial and her involvement in promoting the disaster known as Fyre Festival.
Miller – who was seeking statutory damages in an amount up to $150,000 per copyrighted image, and a “disgorgement of [the Jenners’] profits directly and indirectly attributable to [their] infringement of his rights in the photographs, in an amount to be established at trial” – further claimed that “at no time [did he seek] to associate his work with Kendall or Kylie or any of their companies.”
The case is slated for dismissal as of Wednesday, following its transfer to mediation (an alternative form of conflict resolution) in late February. The filing dictates that the parties will pay their own legal fees but is silent on the terms of the potential monetary settlement, which very likely includes statutory damages in connection with the sisters’ unauthorized use of Miller’s imagery.
As for any additional damages, the sisters stated in a related lawsuit in connection with their unauthorized use of another photographer’s imagery for the same line of t-shirts that only a very small number of the $89.69 tees were actually sold before they pulled them from shelves due to mounting controversy.
This development comes on the heels of the Jenners pushing back in the lawsuit that photographer Al Periera filed suit against them for “misappropriating and wrongfully exploiting” a copyright-protected photo of rappers Tupac, Notorious B.I.G. and Redman without his authorization for their $90 t-shirts, thereby giving rise to even more copyright infringement claims.
* The case is Michael Miller v. Kendall Jenner Inc et al, 2:17-cv-04992 (C.D.Cal).