Kendall and Kylie Jenner are calling “Copyright troll!” in connection with the lawsuit filed against them last September over their uber-controversial “vintage” tees. Al Periera – who describes himself as a pioneering photographer of rap and hip-hop artists – filed suit against the reality television sisters 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 copyright infringement claims.
Despite Periera’s copyright infringement claims, the Jenners are not going down without a fight. According to a newly-filed motion, the Jenners allege that Periera’s counsel Richard Liebowitz is engaging in behavior common of copyright trolls and as a result, the Jenners are asking the court to impose sanctions upon the New York-based copyright attorney.
The Jenners claim that Liebowitz – who was slapped with a $10,000 sanction earlier this year in an unrelated copyright case for creating “unnecessary legal expenses” for the defendant – is “one of the most prolific filers of copyright lawsuits” in the U.S., having filed more than 450 copyright infringement suits since December 2015.
The famous sisters claim that Liebowitz has engaged in “misconduct,” including missing several filing deadlines, as well as dropping and then refiling their case in order to force the sisters to “endure the expense” of an extended dispute, as reported by WIPR, after “demanding” $25,000 from the Jenners to settle what they have described as a “frivolous” matter.
Still yet, the Jenners assert that despite the fact that Pereira did not file a copyright registration for the photo at issue until July 2017 (three years after it had been taken by Periera), the photographer and his counsel threatened the Jenners with statutory damages in an amount up to $150,000 per copyrighted image. The problem, as noted by WIPR, U.S. copyright law requires that a work must be registered within 30 days of its first publication in order for the copyright holder to be eligible for statutory damages under the Copyright Act.
Pereira’s suit – which seeks damages, including any profits that the Jenners made in connection with the sale of the tees – was filed on the heels of a very similar suit by photographer Michael Miller, which a rep for the sisters called “completely false and the lawsuit is baseless.”
* The case is Pereira v. 3072541 Canada Inc. et al., 2:18-cv-02622 (C.D.Cal).