By Irina Tarsis, Esq.*
Chasse away Cariou v. Prince! Filed on December 20, 2013 with amended complaint submitted on the New Year’s Eve, Greenfield v. Pankey has the making of another exciting photographer v. artist case. Plaintiff, Lois Greenfield is a dance photographer. She is accusing Jill Pankey of basing her paintings on Greenfield’s photos, 33 photos to be exact.
According to the complaint, Greenfield is “one of the country’s foremost dance
photographers” who does not photograph dance performances but instead “directs and composes unique dance imagery in her studio.” Defendant, at one time art faculty at Texas State University used Greenfield’s photographs in more than 20 of her paintings. After a third party noticed that Pankey’s work was based on Greenfield’s photos, Pankey tried to secure Greenfields permission to copy her work. Pankey admitted to using photos of dancers as inspiration for her paintings. In an email, she even admitted to harming Greenfield but according to the complaint, defendant continued to sell her paintings online.
While Pankey is not a New York resident — she resides in Texas — New York Federal Court seems to have jurisdiction to decide the dispute because Defendant promoted her work to New York residents and exhibited her paintings in Manhattan gallery shows.
Given the willful infringement alleged by Plainitff, Greenfield is seeing maximum statutory damages, actual damages and litigation costs as well as injunction against using Greenfields’s copyrighted photographs not to mention the delivery of Pankey’s paintings for for distraction or other disposition.
Complaint includes many side by side comparison’s of Greenfield’s photos and Pankey’s paintings as well as charts listing infringed and infringing works. Greenfield’s counsel is Andrew Berger with Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP.
Source: Complaint, Greenfield v. Pankey, 1:13-cv-09025-PGG (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 27, 2013)
This article is intended as general information, not legal advice, and is no substitute for seeking representation.