Munger, Tolles & Olson represented the J. Paul Getty Trust in acquiring the priceless photographic archive of Ebony and Jet magazines at auction. The Getty led a consortium of foundations, including The Ford Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in the purchase, which was approved by a bankruptcy judge on July 25, 2019.
The archive includes more than four million prints, negatives and media documenting decades of African American history. Images features prominent public figures including politicians, civil rights leaders, lawyers, scientists, musicians, actors, entertainers and athletes, as well as scenes from everyday life. It was sold as part of the bankruptcy proceeding of Johnson Publishing, founder of Ebony and Jet.
The collection will be donated to the National Museum of African American History of Culture, the Getty Research Institute and other cultural institutions to ensure public access and use by scholars, researchers and journalists.
The team representing the Getty in the auction purchase was led by George C. Fatheree, III and Thomas B. Walper. Luis Li also advised on the transaction. Seth Goldman advised on bankruptcy-related issues; Jennifer M. Broder provided corporate counsel; and Matthew S. Schonholz provided tax advice. Zachary M. Briers addressed issues related to intellectual property.