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Photographer Brings Copyright Infringement Suit Against Kat Von D


April 9, 2021

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As recently reported, celebrity tattoo artist, Kat Von D, is being sued for allegedly infringing a photographer’s copyright in a photo of jazz musician, Miles Davis. The tattoo artist allegedly used the photo to create a tattoo on a client’s bicep, and documented the process on her social media.


The photo in question was taken by photographer Jeff Sedlik in 1989. Since its creation, Sedlik alleges that he has held a non-exclusive license to reproduce, distribute and display the work. Sedlik alleges that Kat Von D did not request or receive a licence to reproduce the photo in question. He further alleges that Kat Von D monetized the photograph, in part by using the value of the photograph to promote the sale of her products and services.


Whether Sedlik’s claim of infringement is successful may turn on whether Von D can demonstrate that her use of the photo constitutes “fair use”.

Authors: Nargis Fazli and Jaclyn Tilak

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