Pop Star Jennifer Lopez Sued for Copyright Infringement—For Posting a Photo of Herself
According to reporting from USA Today, a paparazzi company has filed a copyright infringement claim against singer and actress Jennifer Lopez.
It is the latest in a growing trend of cases in which celebrities are being sued for copyright infringement for posting photos of themselves. Several similar claims have been filed in recent years, including against model Gigi Hadid and reality television personality Khloe Kardashian.
In this case, Jennifer Lopez posted a picture of her holding hands with her boyfriend, former MLB all star Alex Rodriguez. Notably, the photograph in question — which was taken by a paparazzi photographer — was not licensed to Ms. Lopez.
The Lawsuit: $150,000 for Copyright Infringement
Jeniffer Lopez is facing a copyright infringement lawsuit from Splash News and Picture Agency—a company that is one of the largest paparazzi firms in the entire country. Legal representatives for the paparazzi agency filed the claim alleging that Ms. Lopez is infringing on its rights by posting two different pictures on her social media account without obtaining the proper authorization.
In its copyright lawsuit, Splash News and Picture Agency is seeking $150,000 in financial damages for each of the two alleged acts of infringement. The company contends that these photographs were especially valuable based on the context of when they were taken.
Of course, what makes this case especially interesting is the nature of the photographs. They are both pictures of Jennifer Lopez herself. This raises an important question: Can a person actually commit copyright infringement by posting a photograph of themselves?
Copyright Law: Who Owns a Photograph?
Under United States copyright regulations, photographs are considered to be original works of authorship. This means that they are indeed entitled to copyright protection. Further, the person who takes the photograph owns the intellectual property rights for that specific photograph. In other words, yes—a celebrity could actually violate a photographer’s copyright by posting a picture of themselves on social media. Although this concept is a little bit counterintuitive, it is important to understand that copyright law protects original creative work.
Does this mean that celebrities are prevented from posting paparazzi photographs of themselves without obtaining a license? Not necessarily. It will always depend on the specific facts of the case. A celebrity’s use of one of these types of pictures could still fall within fair use protections. To be sure, copyright infringement claims are notoriously complex. Every copyright infringement lawsuit must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Still, everyone should be careful when using unauthorized works of another party.
Get Help From a Florida Copyright Litigation Attorney Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our dedicated West Palm Beach copyright litigation attorneys are standing by, ready to protect your rights. We have extensive experience handling all sides of copyright infringement claims. To get immediate assistance with your case, please contact us at our Miami law office or West Palm Beach law office today. Our lawyers represent individuals, businesses, and organizations throughout South Florida.