Veteran Hollywood photographer Douglas Kirkland challenged a Miami pop art gallery in federal court Tuesday, claiming one of its works ripped off a photo of French actress, model and activist Brigitte Bardot.
Kirkland took the photo in 1965, according to the copyright infringement lawsuit, which points the finger at gallery owner and pop artist Kfir Moyal.
View the photo on page 3 of Kirkland’s complaint:
The suit, filed in the Southern District of Florida, claims Moyal copied Kirkland’s Bardot shot without permission, displayed it on his gallery’s website and used it to make and sell products, including a table and some wall art.
Moyal and his agent Kari Guhl did not respond to a request for comment before deadline.
Kirkland, originally from Canada, achieved fame in 1961, when as a 24-year-old newbie he snapped a photo of Marilyn Monroe in an unmade bed for the cover of Look Magazine — less than a year before she died.
Kirkland has since captured the likes of actress Audrey Hepburn, U2 frontman Bono and pop artist Andy Warhol, with some even dubbing him Hollywood’s favorite photographer. He has asked the court for damages, profits earned, attorney fees and costs.
‘A difficult life’
The full extent of the alleged infringement is not yet clear, according to Kirkland’s lawyer, Alexander C. Cohen of SRIPLAW in Boca Raton, who’s working on the case with Joel B. Rothman and Ana P. Moretto.
Cohen said he’s frequently contacted by photographers struggling with similar issues.
“It’s hard enough to make it as an artist if no one is stealing your stuff,” Cohen said. “But imagine you create one good photograph out of every thousand that you take, and somebody just steals it instead of paying for it. It’s a difficult life.”
This case is particularly egregious, in Cohen’s view, as Moyal has made money from the alleged infringement.
“Sometimes people will copy our clients’ photographs and use them in an advertisement or a blog, but here somebody is actually selling his work for quite a bit of money and they have no right to do that.”
It’s not Moyal’s first brush with copyright law.
In 2016, his gallery was hit with a similar lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida over its alleged reproduction of Monroe and Hepburn photos. In March 2017, U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro issued a final judgment of more than $332,000 against the gallery.
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