Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Sunday, 6 September 2009 12:44 UK

Leibovitz sued by photographer

Annie Leibovitz
Leibovitz is also being sued for $24m by an art financing company

Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz is being sued by an Italian photographer who says she used his pictures without permission.

Paolo Pizzetti claims Ms Leibovitz used photos he took in Venice and Rome, and passed them off as her own in a 2009 calendar for a coffee company.

He is seeking a court order to stop the images from being used and $300,000 (£183,000) for copyright infringement.

A spokesperson for Ms Leibovitz declined to comment.

According to legal papers filed at a New York federal court, Mr Pizzetti said Ms Leibovitz, 59, hired him to scout locations in Italy for an advertising campaign for Lavazza coffee in April 2008.

He said he photographed the Trevi Fountain in Rome and the Piazza San Marco in Venice as well as other images which he sent to her digitally, but was later informed Ms Leibovitz would not be travelling to Italy for the photo shoot.

'Same bird'

Mr Pizzetti said that in October, when the calendar was released, he noticed two of his photographs had been used, with models superimposed on it.

A comparison of the Piazza San Marco photo shows "the same wet weather conditions, cloud formation and the same bird in the upper left portion of the photograph," Mr Pizzetti said in the complaint.

Annie Leibovitz's New York home
Leibovitz is in danger of losing her New York homes if she fails to pay the loan

"It is clear that the Leibovitz defendants copied the Piazza work authored by Pizzetti and edited it," he said.

He added that Ms Leibovitz at no point told him she planned on using his photographs in the calendar, nor requested his permission to do so.

Mr Pizzetti is also seeking other unspecified damages as well as requesting the photographs to be destroyed.

The legal case is the latest to hit Ms Leibovitz, who is also currently being sued for defaulting on a $24m (£14.6m) loan secured against the rights to her entire collection.

If she does not pay back the loan to the Art Capital Group by 8 September, she is in danger of losing the copyright to the thousands of her negatives it has in storage, as well as her three properties in New York.

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