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Leibovitz v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 94 Civ 9144 (1996).

Further Reading:

Annie

 
 

Vanity Fair

In 1991, famed celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz photographed actress Demi Moore, naked and pregnant, for the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. This became one of the hottest selling issues in Vanity Fair history.

NielsenIn 1993, Paramount Pictures instituted an advertising campaign for a movie called "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult."

The advertisement for "The Final Insult" had Leslie Neilsen's face superimposed on the body of a naked and pregnant woman. The lighting, pose, and background are similar to the Leibovitz photograph of Demi Moore.

The Final
Insult

The ad was further digitally manipulated to replicate the body configuration and skin tone of the original Leibovitz photograph.

This ad ran in the national media, including Vanity Fair, and Leibovitz was sufficiently insulted to file suit against Paramount alleging copyright infringement. Paramount conceded that the Naked Gun ad targeted the Leibovitz photograph, but claimed that the ad was a parody and a fair use of the photograph.

Paramount claimed that the ad was linked to the themes of marriage and childbearing that are central to the movie's plot (as opposed to the theme of a mad bomber blowing up the Academy Awards ceremony).

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Demi Moore This photograph of Demi Moore appeared on the August, 1991 issue of Vanity Fair.

According to the court, this image of Demi Moore controversially displaying the majesty of child bearing womanhood is a serious comment on a woman's fulfillment in her pregnancy and has in fact become a cultural icon.

The court went through the elements of Fair Use and found that the Paramount ad was a legally allowable parody.

The court looked at how closely the ad copied the original and determined that although the ad drew heavily on the Leibovitz work, it was actually a photograph of a different naked eight-month pregnant woman.

The court also looked at the potential market harm caused by the Paramount ad and determined that there was no adverse effect on the sale or licensing of the Liebovitz photograph after the publication of the Paramount ad.