Photographers and battles against copyright

Singer-songwriter Dua Lipa is the subject of a copyright infringement complaint (Integral Images, Inc. v. Dua Lipa, 2: 21-cv-05470, CD Ca), claiming that she posted a picture of herself on her own Instagram account. And Lipa isn’t alone – over the past five years, celebrities like Khloe Kardashian, Gigi Hadid, Deshaun Watson, Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham, and others have been charged with copyright infringement for posting photos of themselves on social media.

Social media copyright infringement

It may seem strange that she could violate someone’s rights by using a photograph of herself, but in photographs, like any other creative work, the creator owns the work, unless otherwise agreed. So if a photographer takes a photo of a celebrity (or anyone!) On the street, the photographer owns the copyright, although the subject may have the right to use their image for any purpose. commercial.

Some subjects have tried to circumvent the photographer’s rights. Gigi Hadid (in Xclusive-Lee, Inc. v. Jelena Noura “Gigi” Hadid, 1: 19-CV-00520, SDNY) claimed that by cooperating with the photographer taking her photo, she had both contributed to the creation of the work (making her a co-author) and had obtained an implied license from the photographer to use the photograph she was involved in creating. Hadid won for a different reason (the photographer had not registered her copyright), but courts have generally been reluctant to argue that each model would co-author the photographs in which they appear.

Be careful who has photographs of you

Paparazzi pose a professional risk to celebrities, but anyone who works with photographers or uses social media for marketing purposes should keep the issue of copyright ownership in mind. Whether you are a business owner using a photographer to create promotional images, or you need to make sure that you can use client photographs on your social media, the first step is to make sure that you have the rights you have. you need. An intellectual property lawyer can help you with a service contract that protects your rights or a license that prevents legal action.

© 2021 Norris McLaughlin PA, All rights reservedRevue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 204

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