It seems that the iconic rock band Guns N’ Roses and their management are heading to court soon. Katarina Benzova, who has been the band’s photographer for a long time, has filed a lawsuit against the band, claiming they have violated her copyright. In addition, she is also accusing the band’s manager of sexual abuse.
Benzova has been working with Guns N’ Roses since 2010 and has provided photos for a total of 364 concerts. However, in 2022, she stopped working for the band and filed the lawsuit in November. According to her claims, the band used and sold her photos without her permission, which is a violation of her copyright. On top of that, they allegedly altered the images to hide their actions.
The lawsuit goes beyond copyright infringement and also includes disturbing allegations against the band’s manager, Fernando Lebeis. Benzova accuses him of persistent bullying, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and psychological manipulation over the course of several years.
She further claims that he reduced her pay without informing her and made her cover travel expenses while providing substandard accommodation during tours. Benzova believes that she was singled out for mistreatment, in contrast to the male photographers who were treated better.
Unsurprisingly, Guns N’ Roses and their management vehemently deny these allegations, stating that they are “categorically and unequivocally false.” They argue that Benzova had signed “work-for-hire” agreements during multiple tours, which transferred ownership of the photos to the band.
In fact, the band had preemptively sued Benzova a few weeks before she filed her lawsuit, claiming that her copyright claims were nullified by the contracts she had signed.
In response to the lawsuit, a representative of Guns N’ Roses clarified that the lawsuit only pertains to the copyright infringement allegations and not the claims of sexual harassment.
They maintained that Benzova had been well compensated for her work during the 12 years she collaborated with the band. They also emphasized that the allegations arose only after her services were discontinued in 2022. They firmly believe that the evidence disproves these allegations.
The outcome of this legal battle between Guns N’ Roses and Benzova will depend on various complex factors. It will involve the interpretation of the “work-for-hire” agreements, the strength of the evidence regarding copyright ownership, and the credibility of the abuse allegations.
Additionally, the strategies employed by the legal representatives and the influence of jurisdiction and legal precedents will play a role in the final decision. Ultimately, the court will evaluate the agreements, evidence, and applicable legal standards to determine the outcome.