The latest in an ongoing list of musicians facing lawsuits, Guns N’ Roses are being sued for alleged copyright infringement and sexual harassment.
According to court documents obtained by England’s New Music Express, on Sunday (11.12,) photographer Katarina Benzova filed a complaint suing the band for copyright infringement and sexual harassment – allegedly perpetrated by manager Fernando Lebeis.
In the complaint, Benzova recalled photographing the band on a freelance basis at 364 concerts between 2010 and 2022. The document addresses the band committing copyright infringement on her photos “through the reproduction, public display, distribution, creation of derivative works, and holding out of Benzova’s photographs for licenses and sale to third party publications after termination of any right to do so”. In addition, the claim states that the iconic rockers altered her photos to cover their infringement and falsely claim ownership over them.
Elsewhere in the lawsuit, the photographer alleges that Lebeis made unwanted sexual advances towards her once he began managing the band in 2016. When Benzova continually rejected the manager’s actions, his behavior reportedly escalated to “name-calling, ridicule, demeaning remarks, humiliation, bullying, and lying”.
in addition to the above, the manager allegedly lowered Benzova’s fee without notifying her, withheld payments from her, ignored her efforts to use written contracts with the band, moved her to cheaper hotels during travel, demanded she pay out of pocket for travel expenses that Team Brazil promised to cover, and refused to credit her for her photos.
In October 2022, Lebeis cut ties with Benzova, citing “budgetary concerns” yet the photographer assumes that Lebeis discriminated against her because she rejected his sexual advances, claiming another photographer for the band wasn’t treated in the same way that she was.
Guns ‘N’ Roses, the band’s business and holding company Gundam LLC, Team Brazil, and Lebeis were all listed as defendants in the case.