In recent days, hitherto low profile French photographer Laurent Darmon uploaded a set of nude shots of Kerr to his website [03/08: since taken down].
According to Darmon's Paris agent, Angela de Bona, the photos were taken "some years ago", but the agency is as yet unclear exactly when or why they were taken. Darmon was unreachable when we called on Thursday evening.
Kerr's Australian publicist Annie Kelly told frockwriter that she has yet to make contact with Kerr, who is travelling.
Of course Kerr is no stranger to nude photography, having posed naked on the cover of Australian Rolling Stone, for the Pirelli calendar and for Australian photographer Russell James, who works closely with Victoria's Secret.
In fact, she has been posing semi-nude since she was 18. As Kerr was, awkwardly, reminded back in 2010, when an old friend, Australian photographer Jasper Glavanics, attempted to sell semi-nude shots of 18 year-old Kerr to the British tabloids. According to sources close to Kerr at the time, Kerr was asked by the Australian photo agency that was handling the sale to match the price in order to get the shots off the market. Glavanics claimed to us that Kerr paid; however Kerr's camp denied it.
If the "new" Laurent Darmon shots were taken several years ago for a magazine editorial that never eventuated, would he not have the right to display them on his own website? It's not like he sold them to Playboy, right?
In 2010, Dutch-born, London-based model Lara Stone won "significant" damages from French Playboy and American photographer Greg Lotus, after Lotus sold 2008 test shots of the then "almost unemployed" but currently world number one fashion model to the magazine without her permission. The proceeds were donated to London's Great Ormond Street childrens' hospital.
Like Stone, Kerr is today a very high profile celebrity and, pending the agreement that was made at the time of the Darmon shoot and the jurisdiction, she could have a say in how those images are disseminated.
“Unless there was a contract of some form – even oral – restricting the use of the photographs, the photographer could use them as he sees fit” leading Australian IP specialist lawyer Stephen Stern, from Melbourne's Corrs Chambers Westgarth, told frockwriter in 2010 regarding the Stone case.
“But there is no one international law on ownership of copyright. It depends in which country the photos were taken - or where you want to stop the publication. Some countries do have rights of publicity (ie of public figures) that exist independently of copyright law".