Ariana Grande Sued by Photographer for Sharing His Photos on Instagram Without Permission


Ariana Grande seems to appear on this blog a lot, but usually she’s dictating the terms of photo use or suing someone for taking her pictures without permission.

But today’s story is about an photographer suing Ariana Grande for taking two of his photos and sharing on Instagram them without his permission.

How the tides have turned, eh?

NY Daily News is breaking the story of the lawsuit filed by photographer Robert Barbera, based in New York City, against the pop singer for using a picture that “Barbera is the author of the photographs and has at all times been the sole owner of all right, title and interest in and to the photographs, including the copyright thereto” per the filing.

A picture Ariana used to promote her new album “Sweetener” featured her holding a bag with the words “Sweetener” on it.

In terms of damages, Barbera is asking for $USD 25,000 for each infringement plus any profits received from the use of the photos.

That’s not exorbitant but it is no small change either. Who knows whether it will go to court or not but such a small amount might mean a settlement is in the near future. Then again, it could go the opposite way.

After all, Ariana Grande is not kidding around when it comes to photos with her in them.

If you’ll recall we reported back in March that Ariana Grande wanted to own all the rights to all photos taken at her concerts. She’s not the only musician to attempt this, but she is one of the more popular.

As usual, we'd love to know your thoughts on this story so don't hesitate to leave them in the comments below. 

[NY Daily News]

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

Someone correct me if I am wrong here. Had this photo been of, let’s say me or my fiancée, then we would have the right to our likeness. As long a we weren’t in a public park or something of that nature, say the image was of us sitting on our porch, then we have the right to say how that image is used. The photographer would actually need to get a release signed by us in order to use it for commercial purposes.

In the case of Grande, she’s a public figure and so this same right does not extend to her. I think this is the legal framework that makes the entire tabloid industry possible.

Now, that means the photographer is allowed to do what s/he wants with the photograph, even profit from it. I don’t know that it precludes Grande from using since it is her likeness. Certainly the photographer has usage rights, but does she also have usage rights? This is the angle of the case I am unsure about. For that reason I would hope that it goes to court so that the matter would at least have some precedent set, and provide some clarity. However, I do expect that a settlement is the more likely outcome here, which does nothing to help establish the rights of photographers and public figures going forward.

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