Jennifer Lopez has become the latest party to an increasing number of copyright infringement lawsuits instituted by paparazzi agencies and respective photographers based on the unauthorized use of their copyright protected material by celebrities on their social media accounts. Previously, similar types of lawsuits were filed against Khloe Kardashian, Ariana Grande, 50 Cent and Gigi Hadid, among others.
The string of lawsuits brought upon the question on whether if the celebrities actually have the right to post a photo of themselves taken by a paparazzi on social media platforms. It goes without saying that paving the way for the discussion on the rights of a paparazzi photo would certainly change the way social media works in our modern world.
Previously, Gigi Hadid strongly objected that she had the right on her disputed photograph due to the fact that she contributed to its making by striking a pose and a smile for the photographer at the given moment. It was argued that the image was fair use and Gigi Hadid did not require permission for its use as she even reformed the picture by cropping it before posting. The subject Court action against Gigi Hadid was dismissed as the plaintiff that claimed copyright infringement failed to secure the official copyright registration for the photo during the institution of the action in the USA.
Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian stated a while ago that she hired her own personal photographer to have full rights on her images so that she and her fans could post them on social media without experiencing possible lawsuits based on copyright claims.
Recently Jennifer Lopez was the one to make headlines as a paparazzi photo agency instituted a Court action claiming that they are the owner and copyright holder of a photograph which shows Jennifer Lopez holding hands with her boyfriend while out and about.
Accordingly, it was claimed that Jennifer Lopez copied the photograph and distributed it on her official Instagram account without licensing or seeking authorization to use and/or post it from its alleged copyright holder.
It is argued that Jennifer Lopez’s subject “unauthorized use” would impair the existing and future market for the original photographs as her posts make any photograph available to her 102 million followers on Instagram and other consumers all around the world who may prefer to purchase licensed versions of the photograph otherwise. Needless to point out that a picture of a celebrity taken from the right angle would return as high amount of profits for well-placed photographers.
Since the emerging of these types of lawsuits, celebrities have been underlining that their postings are not commercial in nature and that they do not gain any profits by posting the disputed images, which would result to fair use rather than copyright infringement. However, it is not a secret that celebrities use their social media accounts to promote their business ventures, products and upcoming materials as well.
Ultimately, the photo agency is requesting up to USD 150,000 on damages per infringement from Jennifer Lopez which would lead the way for the determination of the level of damage that may incur from such copyright infringement claims.
In the end, we all know that her love does not cost a thing but what about her pictures?