LOS ANGELES (CN) – Model Ann Kirsten Kennis claims the pop band Vampire Weekend used her photo on the cover of its “Contra” album without her permission. What’s more, she claims that co-defendant Tod Brody was paid $5,000 for the photo, which he did not take, and submitted it with a forged release that didn’t even spell her name right.
The plaintiff, who worked under the name Kirsten, claims the photo was taken of her in 1983, but not by Brody. She claims that “Brody submitted to VWI [Vampire Weekend Inc.] a forged photographic release signed by someone claiming to be ‘Kirsten Johnsen’ (or ‘Johnson,’ both spelling variations were used in the release) in favor of VWI (the ‘Sham Release’).” (Parentheses in complaint.)
The “Contra” album was recorded in 2009 and released this year, according to the Superior Court complaint. Kennis claims the band used the photo of her for a concert tour that promoted the album, in posters, ads and merchandise, in print and on the Internet. And she claims the album entered the charts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
She seeks an accounting and punitive damages from VWI, Brody and XL Recordings, a United Kingdom-based independent record label. She alleges misappropriation of identity and unjust enrichment. Her lead attorney is Thomas Brackey II with Freund & Brackey of Beverly Hills.