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Miley Cyrus settles paparazzo copyright dispute

By | Published on Thursday 20 October 2022

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus has settled a legal dispute with photographer Robert Barbera, who accused the musician of copyright infringement by posting a photo he had taken of her onto Instagram.

It was by no means the first lawsuit filed over a celebrity posting a photo taken by a paparazzo to their personal social media profiles without permission. Indeed, it was by no means the first lawsuit of this kind filed by Barbera, who has previously sued the likes of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Dua Lipa.

The copyright in a photo, of course, belongs by default to the photographer not the person who appears in the image. So a celebrity does need permission from the photographer – or whoever the photographer has assigned the rights to – in order to post photos of themselves.

Barbera’s lawsuit against Cyrus, filed last month, said that he took a photo of the star waving as she left a building in February 2020. Shortly afterwards, the photo appeared on Cyrus’s Instagram profile without his permission.

“The photograph was copied, stored and displayed without licence or permission, thereby infringing on plaintiff’s copyrights”, the legal filing claimed. “The infringement includes a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) for a fixed tangible medium of expression that was sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be communicated for a period of more than a transitory duration and therefore constitutes a specific infringement”.

So that’s fun isn’t it? But none of that will be scrutinised in court, because a settlement has been reached. A new court filing simply states: “Robert Barbera hereby notifies the court that [he] has settled all claims between plaintiff and defendant in this matter and is in the process of documenting the settlement. Plaintiff anticipates filing a dismissal with prejudice within 45 days”.