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Ariana Grande Is Being Sued For $50,000 After Posting Paparazzi Pics On Instagram

A New York paparazzi is suing pop-star, Ariana Grande, for posting two of his photos on Instagram of her, without his permission.

This copyright infringement could cost Ari a whopping $50,000.

It isn't uncommon to see celebs posting professional paparazzi photos on Instagram.

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After all, the photos are of them, you'd think they would have some kind of right over the photo since they are the subject.

But apparently, without permission from the photographer, or without buying the rights, things could get messy and end up in the hands of the law.

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Take Gigi Hadid, for example. She has been sued not once, but twice for using paparazzi photos without consent.

In this case, photographer, Robert Barbera is suing 25-year-old singer, Ariana Grande for copyright infringement in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after she posted two of his photos on Instagram.

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Thankfully, the amount the photographer is demanding is most likely a drop in the bucket compared to Ariana's bank balance.

The photographer alleges that Ariana did not receive “permission or consent to publish the photographs.”

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None of Ariana's representatives have commented on the issue just yet.

The photos were side-by-side shots of Ari exiting a building, holding a transparent handbag with the logo of her album title, "Sweetener".

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She captioned the post, “Happy Sweetener Day,” upon releasing the album.

Reports have revealed that Ari posted the photos in question on her Instagram page in August 2018.

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But in the hopes of back-peddling, she has since deleted both of them.

The post received more than three million likes before it was taken down.

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The photographer is asking for $25,000 for both photos and any profits she made from the post itself, amounting to potentially, $50,000.

“Barbera is the author of the photographs and has at all times been the sole owner of all right, title and interest in and to the photographs, including the copyright thereto," the court documents allege.

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Ari is currently on tour promoting her albums, Sweetener and Thank U, Next.

Other celebrities have faced this legal battle before.

Unsplash | Tinh Khuong

Khloé Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, and 50 Cent have all also been sued for posting paparazzi photographs. Marvel Studios and Tom Holland were also sued for posting paparazzi shots of Holland in his Spiderman suit to their Instagram pages.

It can be an expensive battle.

Entertainment lawyer Bryan Sullivan told Buzzfeed News that "the penalties for willful infringement are steep — $150,000 for each violation. Photographers can also sue for loss of profit and legal fees."

Most celebrities (and likely Ari too) end up settling out of court.

Even though there's a potential argument that their celebrity is providing profit for the photographer, it's much easier and quicker for these celebrities to settle out of court. That's likely what Marvel Studios did.

Khloé was one of the first A-List celebrities to get hit by one of these lawsuits.

She's since tweeted about the event and sounded totally bewildered. Khloé and the paparazzi suing her eventually, like Marvel, settled the issue out of court.

KoKo thinks it's a bit hypocritical.


We all know paparazzi hound and stalk celebrities to try to get that perfect photo, sometimes even going so far as verbally harassing them or endangering others. Khloé pointed out that it only seemed fair she should be able to use the pictures they took.

Fans could be in trouble too.


Khloé's fans pointed out that they were having their own Instagram accounts reported for posting celebrity photos, even though they gain no profit from using the pictures.

Some celebrities don't take the lawsuit sitting down.

Gigi Hadid found herself in a very similiar situation to Ariana just last year, but she decided not to quietly settle this issue out of court.

In October 2018, Gigi was facing legal troubles after posting a photo of herself taken by a paparazzi on Instagram.

Instagram | @gigihadid

The photographer sued Gigi, seeking damages for copyright infringement and any profits she made off of the post which received 1.6 million likes and comments within four days of being posted.

Gigi finally clapped back at the photographer suing her as well as all paparazzi in general, with a Instagram rant.

Instagram | @gigihadid

"Yesterday I heard from my management that I am being ‘legally pursued’ for my last (now deleted) Instagram post. The photo is by a Paparazzi & is of me on the street outside an event last week," she wrote.

I posed/smiled for the photo because I understand that this is part of my job," she continued.

Instagram | @gigihadid

"this was an appropriate situation for ‘the press’ to attend, and also that this is how paparazzi make a living."

“Most circumstances are not this way, i.e. leaving my apartment, or anytime I feel that my privacy is being unreasonably intruded upon, doing everyday things feel harder to face… "

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"these people make money off of us everyday, LEGALLY stalking us day in and day out," she went on.

"For nothing special- for us to walk six feet to a car and six feet into a work building. They drive dangerously close and extremely recklessly; they put the general public in danger in pursuit of a photo,” she wrote.

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She then explained that she found the photo that she's being sued for, already posted by someone else on Twitter.

"I found [the photo] on Twitter" she said. "With no photographer's name on the image."

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She called the lawsuit "absurd", claiming that if the photographer had just commented asking for credit, she would have been happy to give it to them.

Ariana hasn't responded publicly to the lawsuit yet.

But she's probably too busy being the most followed woman on Instagram, breaking Billboard and Spotify records, enjoying her world tour, and being the queen of pop music at the moment.

Do you think that paparazzi should be able to sue celebrities for using their photos, even if the photo is of them?

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Should celebrities have more rights over the photos taken of them?