Annie Leibovitz in focus as legal troubles mount

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Annie Leibovitz in focus as legal troubles mount

Tue Sep 08, 2009 @ 02:48PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

6a00d83451d69069e20115715953cf970c-320pi The New York Supreme Court has given famed photographer Annie Leibovitz three more weeks to answer a lawsuit that claims she put up her intellectual property and real estate assets as collateral for a $24 million loan.

A hearing date has been scheduled for this case on October 2, but today is the deadline for Leibovitz to pay back those loans without possibly being declared in default.

Liebovitz's troubles could scare away other celebrities from using IP as collateral or securitizing IP to raise money. In past years, artists like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and James Brown have mortgaged intellectual property in tricky financing structures. The Los Angeles Times says that "experts in marketing intellectual property see no close precedent to the Leibovitz deal," but the impact of seeing a fellow artist lose copyright control could be jarring for many in the artistic community.

In the meantime, Leibovitz has a few weeks to figure out what to do about Art Capital Group, the company that lent her money and is now taking her to court. Possibilities include making a settlement with ACG or declaring bankruptcy. As if these legal troubles weren't enough for the famed shutterfly, an Italian photographer has just filed a $300,000 lawsuit against Leibovitz for passing off his pictures as her own.  

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to

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