Saint Laurent ordered to pay damages by the Paris Court of Appeal for the use of Hedi Slimane’s imagery

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After the French photographer and stylist Hedi Slimane left his post as creative director at Saint Laurent in the spring of 2016, a dispute arose between the two parties. On 19 June, judges ordered Saint Laurent to pay 700,000 dollars in damages for infringement of Hedi Slimane’s copyright.


“Yves Saint Laurent continued to use photographs and videos taken for previous advertising campaigns without his consent,” Bloomberg said.


At the end of his work at Saint Laurent, the designer had filed two lawsuits against Saint Laurent’s parent company, Kering. Both concerned the terms of his employment contract and the application of his non-competition agreement as well as the terms of his compensation.


Indeed, the contract signed by Hedi Slimane expressly stipulated the application of the non-competition clause and thus the compensation due by Kering to the photographer during the period when the latter was prevented from working for a rival company.


This is not a common practice since, on the contrary, a large number of creators seek to escape from this non-competition clause. Also, the struggle for copyright contrasts sharply with well-established industrial practice with respect to the work product of employees. In the vast majority of cases, as a condition of their employment, individuals – whether they are top creative directors in the fashion industry or inventors in large technology companies – formally assign to their employer their rights to the things they create during their employment and any intellectual property rights in those creations.


As a result, creators rarely sue their employers for IP infringement after the fact when archive images or protected designs are used.


“YSL could use the imagery and videos for two years [after Slimane’s departure from his position with Saint Laurent], but that any usage beyond that would need to be negotiated.” However, the court and Slimane state, “There were 103 instances where YSL should have paid Slimane one-year extensions to continue using the ad-campaign material,” but did not do so.


The rights to the images themselves were not transferred to Saint Laurent and remained with Hedi Slimane.


This court decision could well put an end to four years of legal battle between Kering and Hedi Slimane.




Featured photo : © Wikipédia[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


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