Nude model sues over pictures that photographer says she consented to





\nILLINOIS -- A lawsuit filed against a student photojournalist could be decided based on whether the court believes he gained consent from a model.

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\nIn June, a nude figure model sued Columbia College in Chicago and its student-run magazine, claiming her privacy was violated when she was photographed for an article without providing her consent.

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\nThe model appeared in two photographs in the Winter/Spring 2003 edition of ECHO magazine in conjunction with an article about nude modeling. One depicts her from behind from the waist down. The other photograph focuses on a student's drawing with the model pictured in the background slightly out of focus.

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\nThe model, identified in the lawsuit as ''Jane Doe,'' and the ECHO photojournalist, Brian Morowczynski, have starkly contrasting versions of their interaction in Professor Max King Cap's life drawing class where she was posing nude. Doe claims that Morowczynski said he would not photograph her, while Morowczynski says that he explicitly asked and she provided consent.

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\nAccording to Charles Lee Mudd Jr., Doe's lawyer, Morowczynski came to the class and asked if he could take photographs of the students and their drawings. Doe gave Morowczynski permission to stay in the classroom but not to take photographs of her, Mudd said.

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\n''Just as written journalists have a burden to ensure the accuracy of what they're reporting, so too should an obligation be put on photojournalists to obtain consent where consent is required,'' Mudd said.

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\nMorowczynski said, however, that when he arrived at the class, he and King Cap approached Doe to ask if he could photograph her.

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\n''I never gave her the impression that I was there to photograph anyone but her,'' he said. ''She gave me her verbal consent to photograph her .... When she made the verbal consent, Max [King Cap] was present and in hearing distance, along with about 15 students.''

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\nKing Cap did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

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\nThe lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court on June 4, names six defendants: Columbia College, ECHO magazine, Morowczynski, Jamie Degroot, who wrote the article, and ECHO advisers Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin and Lisa Jevens.

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\nDoe is suing for the violation of her right to privacy, harmed reputation, loss of commercial gain, emotional distress and out-of-pocket expenses.

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\nThe lawsuit states that Doe did not know that the photographs had been published in ECHO until she picked up a copy in April, after the issue had been on stands for two months. Fifteen thousand copies of ECHO magazine are distributed twice a year on the Columbia College campus and in the surrounding area, and it is published on the Internet.

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\nColumbia College lawyers are currently reviewing the lawsuit.


Fall 2003, reports