February 27th, 2013

Quincy Jones Settles Copyright Claim with Photographer

©Michael D. Jones/Mike Jones Photography

©Michael D. Jones/Mike Jones Photography

Music producer Quincy Jones and photographer Michael Donald Jones (aka Mike Jones Photography) have settled their dispute over the photographer’s claim of copyright infringement. Terms of the settlement were not announced.

Mike Jones filed suit last year in a federal court in Los Angeles, alleging that Quincy Jones  provided a portrait without permission for use in ads, packaging and other materials to promote a line of audio headphones. The headphone manufacturer, and a book publisher that also used the photo, were named as co-defendants in the case.

Mike Jones claimed that an associate of Quincy Jones’s offered him $5,000 in 2010 for what amounted to a rights transfer of the disputed portrait. The photographer asked for $10,000, then got a counter offer of $6,500, which he allegedly refused.

The images began appearing without Mike Jones’s permission in ads and other promotions for the headphones, which were endorsed by Quincy Jones. Mike Jones filed a claim for infringement early last year against Quincy Jones, headphone manufacturer AKG Harman, and Hal Leonard, the music book publisher.

AKG Harman denied the photographer’s claims, saying that the disputed photograph was shot on a work-for-hire basis.

Mike Jones alleged in his lawsuit that the disputed portrait originated when he photographed Quincy Jones in 1995 in Hollywood at Qwest Records. Mike Jones then provided Quincy Jones with 8×10 prints of some of the photographs. At that time, he refused to sign away his rights to those session photographs, despite Qwest Records’ efforts to “strong-arm” him into transferring the rights, Mike Jones alleged in his claim.

Neither Mike Jones nor the attorneys for either side responded to requests for comment about the settlement.

Related:
Quincy Jones Co-Defendant Denies Copyright Infringement Charge
Photog Sues Quincy Jones for Infringement, Says He Was “Strong-Armed”

April 9th, 2012

Quincy Jones Denies Copyright Infringement Claim

Music producer Quincy Jones has filed court papers denying that he infringed photographer Michael D. Jones’s copyrights when he used a portrait (shown at right) the photographer had shot in 1995.

The music producer says the photographer shot the disputed image on a work-for-hire basis, and therefore doesn’t own the copyright. Quincy Jones also says that even if Michael Jones does own the copyright, the photographer transferred rights to the image for use by Quincy Jones and other defendants.

The photograph, showing Quincy Jones at a recording session, appeared in ads for a line of audio headphones. Michael Jones says he provided an 8×10 print to Quincy Jones, who allegedly provided it to Harman International, the headphone manufacturer, without the photographer’s permission. The image also appeared in a music book.

Harman International, which is a co-defendant in the case, has also denied Michael Jones’s copyright infringement allegations on the grounds that the images were works for hire.

The defendants have yet to produce a work-for-hire agreement signed by the photographer. Without that, they may have to prove that the photographer’s working conditions amounted to a work-for-hire arrangement. Quincy Jones has hinted that he will try to do that by asserting that Michael Jones was “paid in full” for his services, and that he did the work with photographic equipment supplied by the Los Angeles recording studio that allegedly hired him.

The studio, Qwest Records, was a joint venture between Quincy Jones and Warner Brothers Records.

Michael Jones has alleged that he was not paid in full for the 1995 shoot because he refused at the time to sign away his rights to the images. He has also alleged that representatives for Qwest tried to “strong-arm” him in 2010 to accept $6,500 for all rights to the disputed image. The photographer says he refused, but Quincy Jones–and Harman–say that Michael Jones accepted the offer. Quincy Jones also denies that Qwest representatives “attempted to strongarm” the photographer.

A court date has not been set.

Related:
Quincy Jones Co-Defendant Denies Copyright Infringement Claim
Photog Sues Quincy Jones for Infringement, Says He Was “Strong-Armed”