Rod Stewart Sued by Former Photographer for Copyright Infringement

Originally posted 2018-11-19 11:17:33

By Christina Severino |

Rod Stewart was recently sued by former photographer, Bonnie Schiffman, for injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages of at least $2.5 million. The complaint hinges on the allegation that Stewart has misused a photograph originally taken for the cover of his 1989 Greatest Hits album, Storyteller. She claims that Stewart has violated her copyright interests in the photograph when he used the image to promote his recent comeback tour.  Originally taken in 1981, the image at issue features the back of Stewart’s head, showcasing his renowned bouffant. Even though the picture was licensed non-exclusively during the album’s release, the terms of that agreement were not specified in Schiffman’s complaint.

Arnold Stiefel, Rod Stewart’s agent, attempted to contact Ms. Schiffman in 2010 in order to obtain permission to reuse the image for the marketing of his comeback “Rod’s Back,” but Schiffman claims that she rejected his offer of $1,500 to use the photo. Additionally, Ms. Schiffman is now claiming to see “unmistakable” copies of her photo being plastered on marketing materials and other promotional products for his Las Vegas show. The specific language in the complaint describes these images to have “misappropriated the most recognizable elements of the Schiffman Image, if not the exact image itself”.

The defendants in the case include Stewart’s principal business entity, Stewart Annoyances, Ltd., The Stiefel Office Limited (his agent’s firm), Anschutz Entertainment Group, and Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

The original image taken by Ms. Schiffman was un-cropped, whereas the final image used for the album cover of Storyteller looked like this:

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The complaint also included samples of unauthorized “Replicas”:

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