Kathy Griffin continues to complain about not having the rights to the iconic photo of Trump’s bloody head, but we’re told she shouldn’t hold her breath.
The comedian has a new documentary coming out this week “Kathy Griffin: A Hell Of A Story”. The film focuses on the fallout received after her infamous photo shoot with Tyler Shields.
The controversial photos were shot by the famed photog, Shields, back in 2017. The image that caused the uproar had Griffin holding a bloody severed head which was supposed to represent Donald Trump.
Griffin suffered backlash immediately and was dropped from shows, lost endorsements, received death threats, dealt with Trump and his family talking about her, faced a federal investigation by the Justice Department for months and was placed on the No Fly List for a period of time. The comedian took time off and then came back by booking her own overseas tour.
The comedian has been making her comeback with her a series of sold out performances and the huge documentary that was recently released.
Shields had his own projects stalled after the secret service allegedly launched an investigation and forced him into hiding. Sources tell us some of the death threats he faced were so vile and volatile that Shields did not leave his house for three weeks. He was also worried about being taken in by authorities for questioning over the pictorial.
In the new documentary and in press interviews, Griffin has continued to touch upon her belief that Shields should hand over the copyrights to the images he shot of her. The comedian would need the rights to profit from the exploitation of the work or to sell reproductions on merchandise.
Sources tell us Shields has no plans to hand over the rights to his work.
The problem with her demand is that the photographer or the person who created a work of art is the copyright holder. It is customary for the artist, like Shields, to own the rights to their work, unless the work was created as a work-for-hire or there was a previous agreement that the copyrights would be assigned to someone else after the work is created.
Without owning the copyrights, should Griffin attempt to use the photo for her own commercial purposes without licensing the rights from Shields, she could be subject to an action for copyright infringement. Similar situations have occurred recently with lawsuits recently being filed against celebrities by paparazzi agencies. The paparazzi accused the celebrities of copyright infringement for posting or otherwise exploiting their work without permission or paying.