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Leibovitz Keeps Photo Rights -- For Now

Annie Leibovitz, who earlier this week came close to losing the rights to some of her most famous photographs after defaulting on loan payments, has reached an agreement with debtors to restructure debts totaling $24 million.

In a joint statement by Leibovitz and Art Capital Group released Friday, the photographer retains the rights to her work and property, provided Leibovitz repays the loan, originally due on September 8. As a result, Art Capital withdrew a lawsuit filed in July against the photographer.

But failing to meet a future, unspecified deadline for the loan could still result in the loss of Leibovitz's copyrights and multiple properties, including townhouses in Greenwich Village and a home in Rhinebeck, N.Y.

"In these challenging times I am appreciative to Art Capital for all they have done to resolve this matter and for their cooperation and continued support," Leibovitz said in a statement.

Speculation abounded earlier this year that a cause of Leibovitz's financial trouble stemmed from taxes of 50% paid on a sizable inheritance when her longtime partner Susan Sontag died in 2004 -- taxes that would not apply to inheritances between couples with federally recognized marriages -- but other media sources maintain that Sontag left only a few personal items to Leibovitz, with the bulk of her estate willed to Sontag's son, and that Leibovitz's debt is largely due to loans taken out for major home renovations.

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