Universal Music Group has been sued by the estate of the late, renowned hip-hop photographer Chi Modu for using a picture of Tupac Shakur in a blog post.
According to a publication by Billboard, the estate accused UMG of claiming the copyright of Modu’s image of 2Pac in a post titled “Best Tupac Songs: 26 Essential Tracks” on a website run by the business. His estate claims that Universal Music Group removed his copyright information before publishing and made money off of the use of the image. Sophia Modu is his estate’s trustee.
“Chi Modu’s photography captured moments of profundity and grace,” Scott Burroughs, attorney for the estate, said in a statement. “While it does not surprise me that it would appeal to Universal, we are disappointed that the company did not reach out to the Estate to procure a license before exploiting Mr. Modu’s work on its commercial website. We look forward to addressing this infringement in court.”
UMG and the website were allegedly sent a cease-and-desist letter on February 9, 2022, threatening legal action, but the “defendants failed to meaningfully respond,” according to the complaint. The estate, according to Billboard, is asking for a jury trial, payment of all fees and profits, as well as damages that could reach $150,000 for each infraction.