From Kendall Jenner to Urban Outfitters and Macy’s, it seems like everyone is stealing iconic images of the late Tupac Shakur.
Legendary hip-hop photographer Chi Modu — who has snapped iconic photos of Tupac Shakur, the Notorious B.I.G., and more — filed a lawsuit against Macy’s and Urban Outfitters for selling merchandise featuring his photos of Tupac.
According to the report, a merchandising company produced the T-shirts which feature Modu’s photo and distributed them to the retailer giants — who in turn allegedly sold them to customers without permission.
Modu said he had an agreement with the merchandising company to use his image. However, the agreement expired in 2016. Modu is seeking an undisclosed amount for damages as well as any profits made from the shirts.
Tupac lawsuits seem to be the big thing this year.
Earlier this year, legendary Rolling Stone photographer Danny Clinch sued Urban Outfitters (again) and Forever 21. Similarly, Clinch claimed both retail stores used his image for merchandise without his permission.
In both cases, the photographers have to prove that their images were used without permission. In Modu’s case, he will have to prove that his agreement with the merchandising company was void and that they no longer had permission to use or distribute his image.
Obviously, his iconic image was used for the T-shirts, it’s pretty clear, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have permission.
As for Kendall Jenner… If I were you I would just stay away from Tupac photos altogether and any other famous musician for that matter.
Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation. Photographers have the exclusive right to reproduce their photographs unless you have permission from the photographer.
Individuals who publicly display, copy and/or distribute images without the permission of the photographer are in violation of copyright law.