Ever since the advent of social media, paparazzi photographers have seen a huge decrease in profits. Social media allows celebrities to control the image being portrayed and to share their own photos with their followers. There have been a handful of celebrities that have had legal troubles due to posting a paparazzi photo. According to BuzzFeed News, photo agencies have been calling out celebrities who use their pictures without crediting them on their social accounts.
In January of 2019, a photo agency sued Gigi Hadid for posting a picture it had taken of her. She shared the picture on her Instagram account reaching her 44 million followers. Other celebrities who have done the same thing include Kim Kardashian West, 50 Cent, Jessica Simpson, and Jennifer Lopez.
And now, Ariana Grande is facing a lawsuit filed against her by a paparazzi photographer. The photographer alleges that the pop star violated copyright laws by posting photos he took of her to her Instagram account. New York-based photographer, Robert Barbera, photographed Grande in 2018 exiting a building carrying a bag with the words “Sweetener” on it.
On August 17, 2018, Grande posted two of the photos, the same day the singer released her album Sweetener. She captioned the photos, “Happy sweetener day”. The Instagram post is no longer up on her page but received more than 3,390,000 likes when it was. A screenshot of the Instagram post is being used as evidence in court.
“[Grande] infringed [Barbera’s] copyright in the Photographs by reproducing and publicly displaying the Photographs on the Instagram Page,” he wrote in his lawsuit. “[Grande] is not, and has never been, licensed or otherwise authorized to reproduce, publically display, distribute and/or use the Photographs.”
Barbera is suing for either the profits Grande earned from the post or $25,000 for each picture.