"Vampire Weekend" Plans to Fight Album Cover Girl Over $2 Million Lawsuit

Lead singer Ezra Koenig performs with Vampire Weekend in a heavy downpour during the All Points West music festival at Liberty State Park Friday, July 31, 2009 in Jersey City, N.J.
AP Photo/Jason DeCrow
Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend (AP Photo/Tim Hales, file)

NEW YORK (CBS) The record label for the indie rock group "Vampire Weekend" says it did nothing wrong in using a photo of model Ann Kirsten Kennis on the cover of its recent album, "Contra."

Kennis has filed a $2 million dollar lawsuit against the band, the record label, and a photographer, claiming she never authorized the use of the photo of her wearing a yellow Polo-monogrammed shirt and standing against a bare wall.

In an e-mail to Crimesider, record label XL Recordings said, "Vampire Weekend and XL Recordings licensed the rights to use the photo on the cover of Contra pursuant to a license agreement that contains representations and warranties authorizing this use of the photo." The e-mail from XL Recordings spokeswoman Sonya Kolowrat also says, "We look forward to having the matter resolved in court."

Kennis claims the photo was taken in 1983, during her time as a high-fashion model under contract with "prestigious agencies in New York City."

In her complaint document, obtained by Crimesider, Kennis claims that her signature was forged on a "photographic release" that the band obtained from photographer Tod Brody.

Brody told Entertainment Weekly, "Ms. Kennis' claim that I didn't take the photo is blatantly false. I took the photo in 1983. The photo was in my possession the entire time, for 26 years, until it was delivered to Vampire Weekend."

Contra is the band's second album and was released in January, debuting at #1 on the Billboard album chart.

During an MTV interview in October 2009, front man Ezra Koening and bassist Chris Baio were asked about the iconic cover image.

"We haven't met her, we don't know her," bassist Chris Baio told MTV.

"When we saw this image, we just found it very striking," lead singer Ezra Koenig added.

"We will be filing our response after we have had an opportunity to review the allegations," Kolowrat said in her e-mail.