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Cam’ron Ordered to Pay ,000 For Using Copyrighted Photo — Of Himself

Cam'ron copyrighted photo fine

Photo Credit: Rishabh Dharmani

Cam’ron is ordered to pay $51,000 for copyright infringement over his use of a photograph of his own likeness.

A federal judge has ordered Dipset rapper Cam’ron to pay $51,000 to a photographer for the use of her photo — the iconic image of the rapper dressed in a fuzzy pink coat and holding a matching flip phone — which he used in a series of merch without permission. Photographer Djamilla Cochran sued the rapper and his Dipset Couture company last year for using her photo on the merch without authorization, thus committing copyright infringement.

Since Cam’ron, whose legal name is Cameron Giles, never so much as responded to the lawsuit, let alone offered up any defenses, Judge William Martini ruled easily in Cochran’s favor. In his ruling, Judge Martini ordered Cam’ron to pay $40,530 in “statutory damages,” in addition to repaying the $10,691 that it cost Cochran to bring the lawsuit in the first place.

“The court finds that a statutory damages award of seven times the licensing fee is sufficient to compensate plaintiff for the infringement of her copyright and to deter future infringements by punishing the defendants,” wrote the judge.

Cochran’s photo was captured in 2003 at a New York fashion show and has become perhaps the most recognizable photo of rapper Cam’ron. In Cochran’s initial lawsuit filed in April in New Jersey federal court, she asserted that the rapper had used the image on t-shirts, jewelry, and a host of other merchandise sold under his Dipset Couture brand, including pillows, shower curtains, and a print on a birthday cake.

“Getty Images notified defendants of their infringing activities by mail and email on multiple occasions,” write Cochran’s lawyers. “Despite these notifications, defendants continued to sell merchandise and continued to display the photograph on website and accounts.”

Although Cam’ron’s experience might sound like a strange one, the copyrights to a photo are typically retained by the person who snapped it — so being featured in a photo doesn’t necessarily grant someone the rights to use it, especially on commercial products.

And Cam’ron is only the latest celebrity to face such a dilemma, with stars like Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Miley Cyrus all having faced copyright infringement cases after using photos of themselves taken by someone else.

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