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Companies Battle over Distribution Rights of Racy Melania Trump Photos
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Summary: A judge has allowed a lawsuit over naked pictures of Melania Trump to move forward. 

Two companies are warring over nude photos of America’s First Lady, and on Thursday, a judge allowed their lawsuit to proceed.

  
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According to The Hollywood Reporter, photo syndication company Lickerish, Ltd is suing Z Lifestyle, an entertainment website, for publishing sexy photos of Melania Trump without getting a license. But what makes the case strange is that the photos are registered to the photographers so it is curious to see what rights Lickerish has to the pictures’ distribution.

U.S. District Court Judge William Dimitrouleas allowed the case to move forward in Florida because he said that it is unclear who owned the licensing rights to the photographs at the time that Z Lifestyle (WorldLifeStyle.com) published the pics.

Z Lifestyle defended itself, pointing out that the copyright registration to the pics of Melania Trump in stages of undress were registered to the photographers only.

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“This Certificate of Registration states that the photos were created in 1999 by Antoine Verglas, that they were not a work made for hire, and that the copyright claimant — the owner — is the author Antoine Verglas,” the dismissal motion said. “Lickerish is again listed as the Rights and Permissions contact, but not as a claimant or other rights holder.”

Melania has been married to President Donald Trump since 2005. She is Trump’s third wife, and they have one child together, Barron.



Before becoming First Lady, Melania was a model from Slovenia who moved to the United States in 1996 for work. In 2001, she earned an “Einstein visa,” a green card with the EB-1 program that is reserved for people with “an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager.”

Lickerish said that it was the exclusive licensee of the copyright and had the right to sue. Z said that Lickerish “cannot both own the copyrights and be the exclusive licensee; ownership of a copyright and exclusive license to a copyright are different rights and are not interchangeable.”

Judge Dimitrouleas said that he allowed the lawsuit to move forward because the copyright registration “only demonstrates that the photographers were the initial owners of the copyright. The fact that the photographers were the initial owners of the copyrights does not contradict the allegation that Plaintiff was the owner of the copyrights at all times relevant to this copyright infringement claim.”

“Defendant argues that if Plaintiff acquired legal or beneficial ownership of the copyright through a transfer, it must allege the transfer occurred. While Plaintiff may need to provide evidence of such a transfer to prove it has standing to enforce the copyrights, at this stage it need only allege ownership.”

The case will have a jury trial that is scheduled for February 2019.

What do you think of this lawsuit? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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