The album cover for Vampire Weekend’s “Contra” features a pretty young woman from the ’80s giving the ol’ dear-in-the-headlights for a photographer. But while the photo itself seems pretty tame, the controversy (or nontroversy) behind it is not.
Former model Kirsten Kennis is suing Vampire Weekend, its label XL and photographer Tod Brody for $2 million for unauthorized use of her image.
Kennis says that her mother took the photo of her over 20 years ago and that Brody forged her signature on the photo release. Brody has retorted that the charge is “blatantly false.”
As for the band and XL: “As is standard practice, Vampire Weekend and XL Recordings licensed the rights to use the photo on the cover of Contra pursuant to a license agreement that contains representations and warranties authorizing this use of the photo. Now that a lawsuit has been filed, we look forward to having the matter resolved in Court. We will be filing our response after we have had an opportunity to review the allegations. Consistent with our practice, we will not be commenting further about the pending litigation at this time.”
“Contra” bowed and peaked at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 earlier this year. Particularly for a band that has been on the rise since its self-title release, one would think they and their label would be extra careful in securing the rights to such a strong image, for such a commercially well-selling product. Fans will have to wait to see the outcome.
Ezra Koenig also spoke briefly about the debacle with NME. ” “I think I can speak for all of us and say this is the first time any of us have ever been sued, so we’re still learning how it works. There’s so many things we could say about it but given we have no experience of it we’re just keeping conversations to a journal for now, which is a little frustrating.”