A model used on the album cover of a Vampire Weekend record is suing the band for $2 million dollars. Kristen Kennis, who is also suing the photographer and the band's record company, XL Recordings, says she never authorized the indie band to use her photo on the cover of "Contra," their latest release. The cover features Kennis wearing a yellow Polo shirt which was originally taken when she was modeling in New York in 1983. The album was released in January and made it to #1 on the Billboard album chart.
The band claims to have a signed model release form. The photo was originally taken by photographer Tod Brody. However, Kennis contends that the signed release is a forgery. TMZ reports that Kennis -- whose image was used as part of an extensive promotional teaser campaign to herald the launch of the album -- filed the lawsuit on Wednesday, July 14, in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Photographs are subject to copyright protection. When someone wrongfully uses someone's image for profit, they are likely to end up sued by the owner of the copyright. In this case, it will turn on whether the model release form or "photographic release," in question is valid. If the release is valid, then the claim is unlikely to stand. However if the release is a forgery, then the band is likely going to lose and much of the profits will be awared to Kennis.
The band or their management have not released a statement or otherwise responded to the lawsuit.