UPDATE: You Be The Judge: Did Jessie Ware’s Music Video Infringe Asger Carlsen Photo?

Posted by on Friday February 13, 2015 | Copyright/Legal

Update: More than a month after we reported photographer Asger Carlsen’s complaint about the striking similarity between one of his images and an image used in a recent music video, we learned there’s been an update. Scroll down for details.

Yesterday photographer Asger Carlsen called out director Christopher Sweeney and musician Jessie Ware for plagiarism. Posting to his Instagram account and Facebook page, Carlsen showed a still from the newly released video Sweeney directed for Ware’s song “Champagne Kisses,” comparing it to an image Carlsen created in 2010. In the video, which mixes retro and surrealist esthetics, Ware appears briefly sporting a lower body made of plywood, laid out in the exact same position as Carlsen’s model in the 2010 photo.

Reached for comment, Carlsen told PDN that he “cannot comment on the Christopher Sweeney video” at this time.

We’re pretty surprised that anyone would have the chutzpah to mimic such a distinct visual concept without reaching out to or crediting its originator.

Whether or not Carlsen could win a legal case is a trickier question, and courts have sometimes surprised us in their rulings on these matters.

UPDATE: Good Egg, the production company that represents director Christopher Sweeney, published a statement on their website apologizing to Carlsen and acknowledging that Sweeney “referenced” Carlsen’s image “without consent or permissions.” The statement read:

An image from Asger Carlsen was directly referenced without consent or permissions in a music video for Jesse Ware directed by Christopher Sweeney at Good Egg.

An informed social media reaction and action from Carlsen has prompted an acknowledgement and an apology.

Asger’s work remains an inspiration and we are happy to announce that this matter has now been settled to the satisfaction of all parties.

Carlsen declined to comment on the details of the settlement. Good Egg also did not respond to requests for comment.

Related: Rihanna Settles Lawsuit With David LaChapelle


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