Just imagine being sued for posting pictures of yourself online. Most of us will never reach such dizzying heights of fame, but this is the predicament currently facing singer-songwriter Ariana Grande.
The lawsuit began last August when the 25-year-old Thank U, Next singer shared two photographs of her walking along; transparent bag bearing the word ‘Sweetener’ in hand.
She had shared the pics on both Instagram and Twitter to mark ‘sweetener day’ (August 17), celebrating the day of her album release of the same name.
At first glance, the photographs seem pretty innocuous. However, they are actually the work of a paparazzi photographer, who is now suing Grande for having posted them without his permission.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) August 17, 2018
As reported by Dazed Digital, celebrity snapper Robert Barbera is now suing Ari for either $25,000 (£19,600) per pic or for the total profits she made from the pics. It’s thought this could add up to a sizeable portion of Sweetener’s first-day sales.
According to the lawsuit, obtained by Dazed Digital, Ariana had not been authorized to share these pictures:
(Grande) infringed (Barbera’s) copyright in the photographs by reproducing and publicly displaying the photographs on the Instagram page… (Grande) is not, and has never been, licensed or otherwise authorised to reproduce, publicly display, distribute and/or use the photographs.
According to this lawsuit, the Instagram post – which has since been deleted – had been ‘liked’ 3,392,035 times by the time it was taken down.
With over 155 million followers at the time of writing, Ariana Grande is one of the most influential celebrities on Instagram.
Ariana isn’t the first celeb to face the prospect of being sued over a photo of themselves. Earlier this year, Gigi Hadid was sued for copyright infringement by a photo agency after she allegedly posted a pic without having permission.
Opening up about her feelings over the lawsuit on Instagram, Gigi said:
Yesterday I heard from my management that I am being ‘legally pursued’ for my last (now deleted) Instagram post,
I posed/smiled for the photo because I understand this is part of my job…but these people [paparazzi] make money off us every day. LEGALLY stalking us day in and day out — for nothing special.
I had no way of knowing which of the 15+ photographers outside that day took these exact photos; if the person had just commented on my photo I would have been happy to tag and give credit.
Ariana has not yet given a comment on the lawsuit.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.