Friday, July 23, 2010

Behind Every Succesful Album There is a Lawsuit

A model named Kirsten Kennis has sued the band Vampire Weekend, its label XL Recordings and others for $2 million claiming that she did not authorize the use of her photograph on the cover of the band’s successful album “Contra”. Apparently Ms. Kennis alleges that her signature on the photographer’s release form was forged. The photo was apparently taken in 1983. Making sure that one has secured a release from any person appearing on album artwork is a standard practice and it seems strange that that practice might not have been followed in this case. Indeed, a spokesperson for the label was quoted as saying “As is standard practice, Vampire Weekend and XL Recordings licensed the rights to use the photo on the cover of Contra pursuant to a license agreement that contains representations and warranties authorizing this use of the photo.” (that actually sounds more like a lawyer than a spokesperson). This case could conceivably have implications for photographers, art directors etc. The case will probably settle but it would be interesting to know what the actual value of the model’s image is worth.

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