LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Los Angeles-based photographer Anaïs Ganouna, through her counsel VGC, LLP, has filed a lawsuit against Cincoro, the premium tequila company launched by Michael Jordan and four other NBA owners in 2019, for copyright infringement. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California (Case No. 2:20-cv-04070), alleges that Cincoro has knowingly used photographs shot by Ms. Ganouna on its website, social media accounts, and digital advertising without a license or permission from Ms. Ganouna, the copyright holder in the photographs.
The lawsuit alleges that Ms. Ganouna and her company Frank & Anaïs were hired by a production company called The Colors You Like (TCYL) and Cincoro to do a photoshoot for Cincoro last summer in preparation for the highly anticipated launch of Cincoro’s tequila. Ms. Ganouna states that she did not negotiate any licensing/usage of her photographs with TCYL or Cincoro ahead of time, in part because Cincoro was dissatisfied with a previous photographer’s work on the project and wanted to see Ms. Ganouna’s photographs before it decided on the type of usage it wanted. According to Ms. Ganouna, even though the photoshoot was a major success, when it came time to negotiate a licensing fee for the use of her photographs, Ms. Ganouna was inexplicably told that “none of [her] photos” would be used and that another photographer would be sent to Mexico to do re-shoots.
Despite these and other representations, many of which are contained in text messages and emails cited in her complaint, in approximately September 2019, around the time of Cincoro’s launch, Ms. Ganouna discovered what looked like her images being used on Cincoro’s website, social media accounts, and digital advertising. Ms. Ganouna also saw third-party vendors and distributors promoting Cincoro’s tequila over the Internet with what appeared to be her images. Ms. Ganouna captured screenshots of more than a dozen images over the next several months that she alleges were published by Cincoro and third parties without a license or her permission. These images are attached to Ms. Ganouna’s complaint.
Ms. Ganouna’s claims against Cincoro and TCYL include copyright infringement, fraud, civil conspiracy (to commit fraud), and unfair competition. She seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief, among other remedies. Ms. Ganouna is represented in the lawsuit by James L. Greeley and Alexander R. Safyan of VGC, LLP. Per Mr. Greeley: “Our firm represents a wide range of clients, from start-ups and small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. We take violations of our clients’ legal rights seriously. We put the defendants on notice of our client’s claims, but they were unwilling to change their conduct or compensate our client for the use of her images, which are her property. We will hold them accountable.”
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VGC, LLP is an innovative, full-service law firm that provides business-oriented counsel to clients of all sizes. VGC often serves as outside general counsel to its clients and offers them sophisticated business litigation representation. The firm’s attorneys have extensive in-house and major law firm experience, which gives the firm’s clients a comprehensive scope of legal perspectives and skillsets.