Portrait Studio Sues Playboy for Copyright Violation

In a court case that highlights the mounting difficulties photographers face in protecting their work, a California portrait studio has sued Playboy for publishing an image without the studio’s permission.

The image: a high school portrait of future Playmate Colleen Shannon.

Shannon gave the photograph to Playboy for publication, but did not have permission to do so, argues Carla Calkins, owner of Mother Lode Photography in Diamond Springs, Calif.

The Sacramento Bee talked with Stephen Morris of the Professional Photographers of America, who said that fast-and-loose interpretations of fair use are effectively “taking money out of photographers’ pockets.”

Mother Lode’s suit alleges that Playboy has shown a “a pattern of willful disregard” for the copyrights of professional photographers.

Early last year, Playboy was involved in a much-publicized dispute with Jessica Alba after a photo of the actress appeared on the magazine’s cover without her permission. Alba threatened to sue but the dispute was settled out of court.

[tags]playboy, photography, scott baradell, photographers [/tags]

2 Responses to “Portrait Studio Sues Playboy for Copyright Violation”

  1. If anybody is taking business away from professional photographers it's the phony photographers from PPA. That's what PPA stands for (Phony Photographers of America)They have $300 degrees and pan themselves off as professionals.

    Even as amateurs as they are the laws should protect photographer's images.

    Niles Fuller

  2. Hef and company have been stealing original work for decades. As a budding writer in the early seventies, I submitted a good story about a large, viscious dog to Playboy. It was rejected, of course, but a remarkably similar idea appeared in another story that appeared in an issue of the magazine soon thereafter. In fact, it contained a full-page illustration of a viscious lap dog. You can't copyright a good idea but what Hefner did was unethical at best and downright criminal at worst. When that sleazebag finally buys the farm, I won't be saying, "Aw, that's too bad."

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