High School Photographer Sues Playboy

John Stuart
SACRAMENTO — A Placerville, Calif., woman who photographed Playboy’s 50th anniversary playmate Colleen Shannon for her senior year high school yearbook has sued the magazine for including the picture in its December 2003 issue.

Carla Calkins, co-owner of the Mother Lode photography studio in Placerville, claims in the suit that in 1996 her husband photographed Shannon for her high school senior portraits. A reproduction of the school portrait appeared on the bio page of the centerfold in Playboy’s December 2003 issue.

“The reproduction was done without permission from the creator of the photograph,” the Sacramento Federal court documents state. “The Colleen Shannon photograph was not created for publication in a yearbook or any other type of publication.”

Calkins’ husband registered the photograph with the Copyright office on February 5, 2004, and transferred all rights to her on July 20, 2005. Calkins attempted to reach a financial settlement with Playboy, according to the suit, which also claims that Playboy knew that Shannon didn’t own the copyright, but chose to use the photo anyway.

The papers also claim that Shannon “colluded” with Playboy to infringe the copyright by giving them the photo for publication.

The suit seeks one-time licensing fee damages and payment for additional usage of the photo that may subsequently be discovered. It also asks that Playboy be disgorged of all profits attributed to the infringement, plus attorneys fees and court costs.

Shannon, Calkins and Playboy were not available for comment at post time.