Business News Digital Legal

Dua Lipa sued for posting pap snap of herself to Instagram

By | Published on Thursday 8 July 2021

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa is the latest celebrity to be sued for posting a paparazzi photo of herself to her social media. A company called Integral Images has filed a lawsuit against the musician with the courts in California.

The photo was taken back in February 2019 and features Lipa standing in line at an airport. She seemingly posted the image to her Instagram account later that month. Or, in the words of the lawsuit, “defendant, without permission or authorisation from plaintiff, actively copied, stored, and/or displayed plaintiff’s photograph on the account and engaged in this misconduct knowingly and in violation of the United States copyright laws”.

The default owner of the copyright in a photograph is usually the photographer, with any people that appear in the image having no claim under copyright law. They might be able to restrict the use of the photo through privacy law, or by enforcing image or publicity rights, but the intellectual property rights belong to whoever held the camera.

There have been a number of lawsuits filed in recent years by photographers who have snapped a celebrity and then seen said celeb use their photo on social media. In 2019, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande were sued by the same paparazzo over this issue.

When pursuing such litigation, it helps if you can claim that the celebrity used the pap’s photo in a commercial way. Obviously, when people post images to Instagram, those pictures are not being directly commercialised by the person who uploads the picture. Except, plaintiffs in these cases always stress, an Instagram profile is a marketing tool for whatever any one celebrity is promoting just now, and that makes the use of images on those profiles commercial.

“[Dua Lipa’s Instagram] account is monetised in that it contains content designed to accumulate followers who are directed to, via link and/or advertisement, consume and purchase defendant’s content – defendant profits from these activities”, says Integral’s lawsuit.

So there you go. Reps for Lipa are yet to respond.