MANHATTAN (CN) – A denim designer must pay a photographer $100,000 for using a New York-based artist’s photograph of a nude female surfer to sell blue jeans, a federal judge ruled.
Artist Michael Dweck sued designer Diana Amadi and her unincorporated Malibu Denim Co. in March 2010, for using his photograph “Sonya, Poles, Montauk, NY 2002” for “advertising, promotion and sales of its jeans” since 2009.
Dweck’s photograph, which depicts a young, naked woman running with a surfboard to the ocean, appeared in his first major photographic volume, “The End: Montauk, N.Y.” in 2004.
As described by the artist, “It is an evocation of a real-world paradise lost: the paradise of summer, youth, and erotic possibility, and of community and camaraderie in a perfect setting.”
Dweck said Amadi used it to advertise Malibu Denim, and included the image in “hang tags” on every pair of her $160-to-$200 jeans.
Dweck says he never licensed the image for commercial use, and the copyright breach risked alienating his fine art customer base.
The photo sold for $30,000, according to an auction catalog.
Amadi and Malibu Denim never answered the complaint, and a default judgment was entered against them on Jan. 25.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman entered the six-figure award on Monday.