Settled out-of-court: the model, the album cover, and the polaroid

Vampire Weekend - Contra

Over a year ago there was a bit of a hoo-haa involving the band Vampire Weekend, the photographer Tod Brody, and the former model Ann Kirsten Kennis. In a nutshell? Brody licensed an image of Kennis to Vampire Weekend, which they proceeded to splash across on the world on the cover of their album, Contra. Slight problem was, Kennis claimed that she never signed a release for the image and that Brody had no right to use it commercially. Kennis filed a law suit against Vampire Weekend and Vampire Weekend filed a suit against Brody. Up to speed?

Well, a year on and Kennis has settled out-of-court with Vampire Weekend and their record lable, XL. The sum is undisclosed, but Kennis orginally looked for $2 million.

The case of Vampire Weekend versus Brody is on-going, however, with Brody defending himself because his lawyers, Lavely & Singer, quit in June. Seems that lawyers don’t much like it if you don’t pay their bills and don’t at least try to co-operate with them when they’re trying to defend you.

(Headsup to PDN)

The model, the photographer, and the album cover

Vampire Weekend - Contra

Well, this is a curious one. It seems as if Vampire Weekend, whom I happened to see on Sunday when they headlined at Latitude, the photographer Tod Brody, and Vampire Weekend’s record company have found themselves in hot water over the photograph of a young woman used on the cover of band’s album, Contra.

It’s the sort of thing that happens when you use a picture of someone for commercial purposes without their consent, which is precisely what Ann Kirsten Kennis—amodel back in the 1980s and 1990s—is alleging. Whilst Brady is claiming that he took the photo as a test shot in 1983, Kennis’ lawyers say that it is more likely that her mum took the picture using a Polaroid camera. They aren’t really sure, though, and don’t know how Brody came to be in possession of the image. Even more odd: the model release that Brady submitted to support the photograph names the model as one Kirsten Johnsen.

Kennis is claiming $2 million in damages whilst Brady is claiming that Kennis has slandered and defamed him.

Hmm. I shall be intrigued to know how this one works out. It might be a while yet. The defendants have not yet submitted a response to Kennis’ allegations and a court date hasn’t been set.

(Thanks Photo District News)