Out of love for tequila, NBA legend Michael Jordan and four other NBA owners launched the ultra-premium tequila company, Cincoro. In preparation for the launch of its highly anticipated tequila brand, Cincoro hired Ms. Ganouna to take photographs for its media campaign and show off its brand and tequila. However, following a dispute surrounding the specific licensing and usage rights of her photographs a copyright infringement lawsuit was filed. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California and alleged that Cincoro, and the ad company, The Colors You Like (hereinafter “Cincoro”) committed copyright infringement, fraud, civil conspiracy, and unfair competition according to court documents.
The Copyright Infringement Dispute
Before the photoshoot, negotiations took place in which Ms. Ganouna’s daily rate was established, which represented her time and labor cost. However, court documents allege that Ms. Ganouna was under the impression that the licensing and usage costs for her works would be negotiated at a later date. Cincoro allegedly requested this arrangement as they have been disappointed by a previous photographer’s work and wanted to approve the photographs first before deciding what rights they would like to purchase.
The photoshoot went on as planned at the agave fields and plants in Mexico. However, as the photoshoot began to wrap up, Mr. Ganouna, approached the Cincoro about the licensing negotiations. Instead of negotiating a licensing agreement for the photos, she was told by Cincoro that her photographs would not be used. Instead, another photographer would be sent to Mexico to do a re-shoot.
Following the launch of Cincoro’s tequila, Ms. Ganouna discovered that the photographs used in Cincoro’s advertising and media campaign closely resembled the pictures that she was commissioned to take in Mexico. Upon finding this out, she began collecting screenshot of her alleged photos on Cincoro’s website along with third-party sites as well. She then contacted an attorney and subsequently filed the lawsuit.
Stay tuned for updates on this case as it progresses and the outcome of the copyright infringement lawsuit against Michael Jordan’s co-owned tequila company, Cincoro.