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Celebs and paparazzi in copyright battle

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2020 | Intellectual Property

The battle between celebrities and paparazzi in California continually rage on in the courtroom. Photographers have been serving stars over posting paparazzi photos of themselves on their social media profiles. For example, Ariana Grande was sued by a photographer for posting two photos he had taken of her to her Instagram account without receiving permission or buying a license. The photographer sought tens of thousands of dollars in damages, accusing Grande of copyright infringement. The case was settled a few months later with Grande paying an undisclosed amount to the photographer.

However, the paparazzi photographer and the singer are once again locked in another legal battle. The photographer is suing Grande for the second time, claiming that Grande used a photo of herself leaving her apartment as part of an Instagram story that promoted the star’s clothing and merchandise line. In the photograph, Grande is seen wearing a sweatshirt from her Sweetener merchandise collection in the photo. On the Instagram story, she invites her followers to swipe up for a link to purchase the item. The photographer is contesting that this means Grande was using the photo in a commercial context in order to promote the sale of her goods. The potential commercial context of the image in question makes it more difficult for Grande to assert a fair use defense to the infringement allegations.

The photographer is accusing the singer of a “growing pattern” of infringement, noting the previous battle in court. He has previously sued a number of other celebrities for using paparazzi photos of themselves, including Justin Bieber, Alexander Wang and Christian Siriano. Despite being the subject of the photos in question, the celebrities cannot claim a copyright interest in the images.

In an increasingly social media prominent society, copyright over images is becoming more essential, especially for artists and other creative producers. An intellectual property attorney may help creators to protect their content through copyright and trademark law.