More and more often nowadays, celebrities are being sued for posting pictures of themselves on Instagram. While this does not make much sense to many of us, posting a picture on social media that you did not take without permission from the photographer can result in copyright infringement charges.
Actress and singer, Jennifer Lopez, is the latest celebrity to be hit with a copyright infringement suit. Lopez and her production company are being sued for over $150,000 in damages by photographer Steve Sands, who alleges that Lopez posted a photo taken by Sands on Instagram. Sands contends that Lopez and her production company did not license the photograph from Sands or have permission from Sands to post the photo.
While the average person may do something similar and get away with it, celebrities often will not, due to the significant number of likes the photo receives and the celebrity’s large number of social media followers. Some say celebrities post these images to brand themselves without permission from the taker of the photo.
This is not the first time Lopez has been sued for posting. Lopez was sued by Splash News and Picture Agency for $150,000 in October 2019, when she posted a photo taken by the company of her now fiancé, Alex Rodriguez, in her Instagram story in 2017. Splash News alleged they were the owner and exclusive copyright holder of the picture.
The Copyright Act protects the rights of Connecticut photographers by prohibiting others from using their photos for promotion without consent. However, there are exceptions that allow use of another’s photos in certain circumstances. If you have been sued, an attorney specializing in intellectual property disputes can review your case and help formulate a defense strategy.