Here’s Why Ariana Grande Was Sued by a Photographer for Posting Images of…Herself
Ariana Grande is one of the most sought after artists of her generation and no doubt has a huge following, especially on social media. On Instagram alone, the singer boasts 155 million followers, making her one of the most followed on the platform and thus, a social media superstar.
While they are like us who have the right to post anything we want, the problems that may arise are somehow different. For one, it may be a problem for us to choose whichever filter to use, but for celebrities, they have to be extra careful when it comes to posting precisely because it reaches a lot of people.
The “Thank U, Next” singer, for example, was recently hit with copyright infringement by Robert Barbera, a paparazzi from New York, because the pop star allegedly didn’t ask permission nor paid the photographer for the images she posted on her Instagram.
The photos in question, that were posted in August last year, are the two composite which showed Ariana coming out of the building holding her bag plastered with the Sweetener logo, which referenced to her album of the same name.
The said photos were since deleted from Ariana’s feed but according to reports, the post garnered 3 million likes before these were taken down. The court documents said that Robert was seeking $25,000 per photo used by the “God Is a Woman” singer, which meant $50,000 for the composite image, or the profits the star has gained from the images. As per the documents, the photos were registered at the US Copyright Office.
What does this mean? It shows that even though you are the subject of the photo, it doesn’t mean that you automatically have the right to post it. Penalties, Forbes reported, can often go north up to $150,000. It’s unclear if Ariana’s camp will settle the matter out of court, but outlets predict the negotiation will happen privately.
Celebs can use the right-of-publicity card to combat the copyright infringement claims but Forbes said they would lose the battle. The right of publicity gives personalities the right to the profit from the commercial use of their name and likeness but doesn’t impede photographers’ right in the First Amendment.
Rift with Photographers
Speaking of beef between a photographer and Ariana, this wasn’t the first time she earned the ire of lensmen. When the star kicked off her tour, her camp released a photo policy which was met with criticisms because the guidelines were so strict. It was so stern that the National Press Photographers Association encouraged the photographers to not sign the agreement.
For this, Ariana was slammed by photographers, even referring to the pop star as a diva. The policy required all lensmen to give all the rights to GrandAriTour, not to use flash, and only shoot in the first three songs in a designated area. And if they decide to use the images, they have to write first to the 25-year-old and seek permission. If they were approved, they could only use the picture once with a news story.
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