New York draws artists from all over the world because of the city’s inspiration and opportunity. Writers, musicians, painters, filmmakers and photographers often make great sacrifices to produce their craft, and that makes them rightfully protective of their intellectual property. Moreover, the law protects such artists and their work from unauthorized use by someone else who seeks to make a profit. Kylie and Kendall Jenner may have just learned a valuable lesson about this area of law.
Photographer Michael Miller is known for his work with entertainment icons, especially in the hip hop world. Recently, however, Miller was not pleased to learn that some of his most famous photographs had been incorporated into T-shirts for the Jenner sisters’ line of clothing. Kendall + Kylie brand clothing line superimposed images of the sisters and their company’s logo over copyrighted photos of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.
After receiving Miller’s complaint, Kendall + Kylie brand quickly removed the shirts from their website after selling only two. The Jenner sisters apologized for offending anyone with what they called “repurposed vintage tees.” Nevertheless, offense is only a small part of the issue when someone illegally infringes on copyrighted materials. The T-shirts retailed at $125 each.
The matter is not settled, and the Jenner sisters may face legal action from both Miller and the families of the late rappers whose photographs were used on the shirts. Miller stated that the company at no time sought authorization from him to use his photographs, and that the images were exploited on their T-shirts. Artists in New York who feel someone has infringed on their exclusive right to control their intellectual property can obtain legal advice by contacting a lawyer with experience in copyright law.
Source: billboard.com, “Photographer Sues Kylie & Kendall Jenner Over T-Shirts Using His Tupac Photos“, Ashley Iasimone, July 7, 2017