Terry Richardson Says He Stands to Lose ‘Hundreds of Thousands’ in Gaga Case


Sob alert: Fashion/celebrity photographer Terry Richardson says he’s likely to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars due to a recent ruling in a suit against Lady Gaga.

As previously reported, a New York court wants Richardson to turn over as evidence 142,000 backstage images he shot during Gaga’s 2011 concert tour. The request was made by lawyers representing Gaga’s former assistant, who is suing for more than $400,000 in unpaid wages.


According to Jennifer’s O’Neill’s attorneys, the images will help establish her claims that she was essentially on 24-hour duty for the singer, entitling her to some 7,000 hours in unpaid overtime.

Richardson — who is known for his sexualized images and grungy visual style — fought the request, saying it would be too hard to scrape together all of the images and that they don’t apply to the case anyways.

Most recently, his lawyers added the argument that placing the photos in evidence will lead to an explosion of unlicensed copying, costing Richardson hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost royalties. To put that in perspective, that’s about a day and a half of work at Richardson’s current reported pay rate of $58 million a year.


Even that wasn’t enough, however. The photographer ultimately lost out this week in his final ploy to keep the photos to himself when the judge overseeing the case ordered that the images be unsealed.

Richardson took the photos as part of project that led to the book “Lady Gaga X Terry Richardson.”

(via The New York Post)

Image credit: Lady Gaga x Terry Richardson by PG.NETO, photo illustration based on Terry Richardson Stencil. West Village. NYC. 1.19.11 by Matthew Kraus and Lady Gaga by bigdmia, and Terry Richardson! by arthursoares

  • Peter Voigt

    Not much sympathy here. I don’t realy see how photos beeing used in a court would get illigaly copied, and if they did that would still have nothing to do with aiding the court in acheiving an acurate verdict.
    So the only real inconvenience would be the time it takes to dump the pictures to a memorystick.

  • Mark Wheadon

    I agree. Really not an awful lot of hassle, and why would making the images available cause an explosion in copying?

  • Sid Ceaser

    I’m sorry, I try not to judge people, but Richardson is such a scuzball.

    I feel like I need to wash my eyeballs every time I see his photo.

  • sproketholes

    $400,000 in unpaid wages for an assistant? Does this include sexual favors? 400 grand seems like a lot of dough to me regardless of Richardson’s involvement.

  • Steven Wade

    At $8 an hour, 7,000 hours of overtime would be $84,000. I can’t imagine it’s implausible for her to make $40-ish an hour.

  • bob cooley

    “…will lead to an explosion of unlicensed copying…” (?) The images are going to be used in a courtroom – unless the judge is going to upload them all to his twitter account during the deliberations, I don’t think there is any worry about an explosion of unlicensed copying…

  • Ayden Gotzmer

    Especially since overtime is usually Time & 1/2.

  • David Shepherd

    If the images are submitted in court as evidence, then that evidence is a matter of public record which then can be used to exploit the artist rights to copyright. Terry Richardson is not my favorite photographer, but there are some concerns here.

  • Victor

    I’m not an atty so I may be missing something here, but something in the public record is not the same thing as something in the public domain. And copyright, patent, and other forms of IP have been submitted into evidence does not mean they lose the copyright, patent, etc.

  • William Wolffe

    I think the problem might be that a good amount of those pictures may reflect illegal activities.

  • Windom Earl

    Good. Scum bag.

  • Rabi Abonour

    The more implausible thing to me as that the assistant worked the equivalent of 290 DAYS of overtime.

  • Genkakuzai

    I sort of understood where he was coming from… until I realised it was 1.5 days pay for em. Sympathy went out the window at that point.

  • WTFer

    This is stupid… the images won’t be released into the wild… Richardson is only using this as a way to put his name in the tabloids and news outlets again… he’s such an untalented chauvinistic douche… most likely he’s worried that the images may show illegal activities, he’s well known for being a peado… so maybe this will finally land him some jail time.

  • WTFer

    Public record doesn’t translates into public domain at all, the images can be seen but not used commercially or personally… Talk to your lawyer and you’ll see.
    And please don’t defend this douchebag, he’s only seeking attention from the media.

  • 773metric

    And he’s not even losing a day and a half’s pay – it’s an estimate of ‘lost royalties’, i.e. additional money that he thinks he won’t get. There’s a huge difference physically losing something and missing out on the opportunity to gain something. Compare me having my wallet stolen (losing £50) to me forgetting to claim a lottery win in time (losing the opportunity to gain £50).

  • Matt

    Ya, like nothing is ever copied on the internet. If the photos are made available electronically, then he has a point. Not that I want to support him.

  • Genkakuzai

    For sure, I agree completely. Which makes it even more ridiculous.

  • MMielech

    I really really really doubt that he makes over 50 million a year. I mean, c’mon.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    No, his attorneys can request the evidence be sealed so that only the court and officers of the court can see the images.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    who is even talking public domain here? All these armchair lawyers are just confusing each other with misinformation

  • Antonio Carrasco

    And it’s a really good thing you’re not on a jury because you are using your personal ideas about someone to form an opinion about them that is completely irrelevant in this case.

    I’m no fan of Terry Richardson at all, but let’s not forget that he is not the one on trial here and our legal system is supposed to be fair and impartial.

  • David Shepherd

    There are a lot of ifs here. The real lawyers are much smarter than us here chatting about it. I made the point of concern because it is not like the legal system is the most secure info-system in the world…I think that there is some potential for leaked information, and I am sure Terry will not want to print 142,000 images. The court will not want to handle that many prints either. The judge may want this electronically in the interest of time. If these images are stored on some server somewhere to be hacked anonymously, then what???

    Let the “Arm-Chair” Lead Defense Attorney answer this one…LOL.

  • tron_

    wait so it took him 7000 hours worth of overtime to realize he wasn’t getting paid? yeah ok.

  • Genkakuzai

    Not sure where they got that figure from, but I agree it does sound highly unlikely.

  • Samcornwell

    Fifty. Eight. Million.


  • brob

    how is this guy making 58 million a year, when so many people with actual talent are having a hard time making a decent living? the world is messed up

  • Sid Ceaser

    It’s a good thing I’m not on jury duty then, eh? ;-)

    Aaaaaaand, just ’cause he gives me the skeevies every time I think of him has NOTHING to do with how I would handle something as a juror.

    We’ll leave the brooding all-for-truth juror fervor to you!

  • Antonio Carrasco

    Preconceived notions in the jurors’ minds are what allowed George Zimmerman to get away with murdering Trayvon Martin, so there’s that…

  • Quixote

    I hope Terry Richardson does lose Hundreds of Thousands… for any reason whatsoever because he’s talentless and unimportant.. ! of course he won’t actually lose anybloodything because this is just ‘crap publicity ‘ which is bound to increase his talentless unimportance to another unimportant level… quite frankly if all his work was deleted … no one would actually notice… ! Will he be remembered in history for doing something vaguely important… no not at all …. should I bother to express a few colourful expletives to describe such an unimportant tit… no its not actually necessary.. He may have been promoted by certain money hungry arts establishment afficionados but thats just amusing.. so everybody… Chillax none of this matters in the slightest… Mr Quixote

  • thommes

    because it´s all about marketing, not photography. nothing new here. has always been like that.

  • Mike Smith

    Sounds like someone has a preconceived notion of their own…