Advertising Copyright Suit Ends in Favorable Settlement for Fine Art and Advertising Photographer
Case Study

Advertising Copyright Suit Ends in Favorable Settlement for Fine Art and Advertising Photographer

Jill Greenberg’s “Cats on Glass” portraits—and ensuing infringement dispute—grabbed headlines worldwide

 

Fine art and advertising photographer Jill Greenberg obtained a favorable settlement after a legal battle with Clorox Co. and its advertising agency, Dentsu McGarryBowen, that grabbed headlines in major photography, advertising, and intellectual property publications.

The suit began when the photographer’s portraits of cats—shot from below, through Plexiglas, in a style the photographer made so famous that it is known in art schools as “The Greenberg Method”—started appearing in places and uses that Ms. Greenberg alleged were prohibited by the original contract. The Complaint alleged that the images were used in videos on social media, downloadable wallpaper for computers and other devices, and a segment on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

Goldberg Segalla’s Michael A. Siem and Debra L. Doby, Manhattan-based partners in the firm’s Intellectual Property practice, represented Greenberg in the matter. As media covering the dispute reported, the suit raised important issues pertaining to the limits of copyrights and licensing agreements.

“This case demonstrates the inherent tension between industry practices and best practices to secure adequate protections for artists’ work,” Doby and Siem said. “It is important that the parties clearly define to the scope of the work to be done and the agreed upon usage so that the artist is fairly compensated for the use of their copyrights. We are happy that we were able to resolve this for Ms. Greenberg without protracted litigation and clarify the appropriate future usage of her work.”

Read coverage of the dispute and settlement:

 

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