In Vampire Weekend Case, Photog Denies Charges

The photographer who allegedly provided an improperly released photograph for the cover of Vampire Weekend’s 2010 Contra album has formally denied claims against him.

Tod Brody allegedly provided the photograph of former model Ann Kirsten Kennis for the album cover without Kennis’s permission. She sued Brody, Vampire Weekend, and the band’s record label for misappropriating her identity for commercial gain. She is asking for at least $2 million in damages.

The band and its label responded by blaming any legal liability on Brody, and asserting that damages are his responsibility.

According to court records, the Kennis portait–a Polaroid–was shot around 1983. But Kennis says Brody not only didn’t take the photograph, but he provided it to Vampire Weekend and the band’s record company with “a forged release signed by someone claiming to be Kirsten Johnsen.”

Last fall, an attorney for Kennis told PDN, “We don’t know who took the photograph.” Brody told PDN at the time, “We will easily prove in court that I took the photo.”

Kennis had difficulty serving Brody with her claims, but she finally succeeded last month. In an 11-page response he filed in US District Court in Los Angeles two days ago, Brody denied the charges.

He says he is not liable for fraud, as Kennis charged, “because of the fraud of the Plaintiff”–ie, Kennis herself.

He didn’t specify what fraud Kennis allegedly committed.

He also said that “any injury to [Kennis] was caused by [her] own actions or the actions of Parties over whom the defendant [Brody] has no control.”

Brody asserted in his response that he didn’t act “willfully or with intent to damage plaintiff or infringe plaintiff’s rights.” He also says he has satisfied all of his legal obligations to Kennis “if any,” and goes on to say that his actions “were authorized by an implied license.” He didn’t provide details, however.

Brody concludes his response by asking the court to dismiss Kennis’s claims, and to award him attorneys’ fees.

Update: Brody filed answers yesterday to that cross-claims by Vampire Weekend its record label that lay the legal blame on him.  In those answers, Brody says he never agreed to provide a signed release for the image in question. He also denies the claim that he provided a signed release that he said was signed by the woman in the photograph. And he refutes the allegation that he isn’t the author of the image.

10 Responses to “In Vampire Weekend Case, Photog Denies Charges”

  1. btezra Says:

    looks like Tod Brody is a squirrely fuck who cannot be trusted and obviously has issues with being honest

    who would hire this guy to snap photos of their pet yet alone for an album cover?

  2. cta Says:

    There is a response on Brody’s web site.

    http://www.todbrodyphoto.com/vwcontroversy.html

  3. John T Says:

    Hey Btezra, I see you are using the Guilty until proven Innocent ploy.

  4. dbltapp Says:

    Gotta wonder who’s actually behind this woman’s litigation…

  5. Michael Says:

    Mr. Brody admits he took he shot and says he owns copyright, but apparently ignores the fact that he has no model release. Not exactly a professional…

  6. Amber Sexton Says:

    I can’t believe anyone here is defending him. Come on, forging a model release, it’s really scumbaggy. Guilty until proven innocent? Obviously this is a civil matter so those terms won’t be used. But his own statements in court don’t give you a clue?

    You know the label asked for it. How likely is it that he really has one for a polaroid taken of a professional model? Everyone knows anything a model signs at a photo shoot imply one time use only. In fact the voucher a photographer signs specifies one time use. Model agencies fully intend to recoup fees from any re-use of photographs.

  7. WPJ – Weekly Photography Junction | OLAF BATHKE - The Adventure of Being a Photographer Says:

    [...] Vampires among us without permission. [...]

  8. Jodi Jones Says:

    i know Tod Brody personally. He hired me to do a coke-a-cola job with him and never paid me. Also, he claimed to me that he was a body paint artist and said he was going to get me hired to shoot an absolute vodka ad where he was doing the body paint. he asked if he could rent my studio and my services for the model casting. he never paid me for that either. there was always an excuse (death in family, flying to paris, etc). he never claimed he was a photographer himself. he said he was a body paint artist (claimed he did all the body paint for sportswear illustrated swimsuit issues). he actually takes on different roles, when scamming artists. he scammed a model I know as well.

    therefore, there is no doubt in my mind that he is lying about the “vampire weekend” photo.

  9. Jessica P Says:

    I, too, know Tod Brody personally. In 2005, he was “producer” for an independent film which I worked on. Midway thru shooting, he disappeared with thousands of dollars of the production budget. The other producers did right by the crew and most people wound up getting paid, but many vendors were left with nothing.

    I’m with Jodi – there’s not a single shred of doubt that he’s responsible for scamming this band/label. I also wouldn’t be surprised one bit if John T is Brody, posing as someone else. He’s known to spend hours on the web, constructing elaborate lies and trying his best to misinform.

    If there’s a hell, this man’s got a one way ticket.

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