Guns ‘N’ Roses have been sued for alleged copyright infringement and sexual harassment.
According to court documents obtained by New Music Express, photographer Katarina Benzova filed a complaint on Sunday 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 from 2010 to 2022. The documents explained that the band committed copyright infringement on her photos “through the reproduction, public display, distribution, creation of derivative works, and holding out of Benzova’s photographs for licences and sale to third party publications after termination of any right to do so”.
Benzova also claimed in the documents that the band altered her photos to cover their infringement and falsely claim ownership over them.
Elsewhere in the suit, the photographer alleged that Lebeis made unwanted sexual advances towards her since he began managing the band in 2016. When Benzova repeatedly rejected the manager, his behaviour reportedly escalated to “name-calling, ridicule, demeaning remarks, humiliation, bullying, and lying”.
Lebeis also 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”. Benzova speculated 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.
– Cover Media