Attorneys for a Los Angeles photographer are suing Cincoro, the high-end tequila company whose founding partners include NBA legend Michael Jordan and Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss, for alleged copyright infringement in connection with photos apparently shot for a media campaign.
Anais Ganouna alleges that Cincoro knowingly used her photos on its website, in social media accounts and digital advertising without her permission as part of the tequila brand’s launch last year, according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court.
Messages sent to Cincoro’s New York-based parent company, Cinco Spirits Group, and co-defendant The Colors You Like, a digital content firm that was hired to design the campaign, were not immediately answered.
Besides Buss and Jordan, who’s the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Cincoro’s founding partners included Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens and Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck.
The lawsuit alleges that Ganouna and her company Frank & Ana’s were hired by TCYL and Cincoro to do a photo shoot for the premium brand last summer. Ganouna did not negotiate any licensing/usage of her photos ahead of time, in part because Cincoro was dissatisfied with a previous photographer’s work and wanted to see the plaintiff’s photos before deciding on the type of usage it wanted, the complaint alleges.
Even though the shoot appeared to be a success, Ganouna was told that none of her photos would be used, and another photographer would be sent to Mexico to re-shoot the campaign, the suit alleges.
But around the time of Cincoro’s launch in September, Ganouna discovered what looked like her images being used on the liquor brand’s website, in social media accounts and digital advertising, according to her court papers.
Ganouna also alleges she discovered third-party vendors and distributors promoting the tequila over the internet with what appeared to be her images. Ganouna captured screenshots of more than a dozen images over the next several months that she alleges were published by Cincoro and third parties without a license or permission, according to the complaint.
The suit, alleging copyright infringement, fraud, civil conspiracy and unfair competition, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief, among other remedies.
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