Photographer Trying To Sue The Lips Off Geisha House

THR, Esq. reports that photographer Jodi Cobb is suing Geisha House, the Hollywood eatery owned by Big Brother All Stars winner/Jack Shack proprietor Mike "Boogie" Malin and B-list restaurateurs Ashton Kutcher and Wilmer Valderrama, for the establishment's alleged liberal, unpaid use of her geisha photography in their decor and marketing materials. Geisha House's management counters that they're not so much "stealing" her images as "knocking them off so they don't have to pay":

[Geisha House proprietor Lonnie] Moore, who is represented by Geoffrey Gold of Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff, said the lips photographs featured in the restaurant are not the actual "Lips" photograph by Cobb. The restaurant had tried to work with Cobb to use her photograph, but "she wanted too much money," Moore said. So the restaurant created its own version of the photograph.

"It's similar, but it's different," Moore said, adding that various elements of the picture, including the angle, the lighting and color, are different from Cobb's version. [...]

Moore said he doesn't see the reproduction of Cobb's work as damaging to her reputation. If anything, he believes they benefit her.

"It actually makes her more well known," he said. "It's the ultimate respect and we're showing reverence for her. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery."

This all seems like nothing more than a simple misunderstanding of how celebrity-backed enterprises remunerate their business associates. Once someone explains that Cobb will become wealthy beyond her wildest dreams when a Geisha House flack tips Page Six that Valderrama was caught digitally penetrating (or "canoodling," in the tabloid parlance) an Olsen twin beneath a reproduction of one of her conspicuously attributed photos, we're sure she'll quickly drop the suit as other restaurants come clamoring to work with the hottest photographer in town.