Model Sues Photographer for $500K for Misued and Stolen Images

by . January 15th, 2015

News about the model Nicole Forni’s $500K lawsuit against Ohio-based photographer Joshua Resnick has taken the photography community—especially those in the stock photography industry—by storm.

The lawsuit concerns Forni’s photos from a lingerie photo shoot with Resnick. She is accusing Resnick as well as and other websites who have used her photos. Her claim is that her photos are being sold and used by porn websites around the the world in order to promote their content. Not only that, Forni’s photo has been used for escort and strip club ads. She also said that Resnick gave an “unconditional promise” that the lingerie shots will not be used for adult-oriented, pornographic, or other obscene purposes. She claims that photographer Joshua Resnick has sold her images to these companies despite the fact that she signed a universal adult-model release for all agencies.

According to court papers that was mentioned in New York Post, Forni signed the agreement but it does not mention their oral agreement that they may not be used on adult sites. Forni is demanding that all her photographs be taken down and she also seeks $500K from Resnick for breach of contract, fraud, and fraudulent inducement.

A few dates ago, Resnick published his side of the story in PetaPixel. In his defense, Resnick said that he paid Forni and had her sign the contract. He told her as well as her agent that the photographs will only be used through stock agencies, such as Shutterstock, which do not allow pornographic and obscene use of images as stated in their terms of service. The Ohio-based photographer claims that the images were “misused” or “outrightly stolen.” On top of that, Resnick asserts that Forni posted the images herself on Facebook which he believes could be where the images were stolen from.

Debates whether who is wrong or right and what should have been done are heatedly discussed in major photography blogs. There’s a lesson to be learned here especially in this day and age where everything can easily be taken with one click. As photographers, it is in our best interest to protect ourselves, our works, and the people we will work with by putting everything in writing. As tedious it may seem, we see that model releases need to be more thorough than it used to be especially now that image theft and misuse are abundant.