Ariana Grande sued by a photographer for posting photos of herself on Instagram

May 16, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

May 16, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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After Gigi Hadid and Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande is being sued for posting photos of herself to Instagram without the photographer’s permission. She shared two paparazzi photos with her followers, and now she is facing a lawsuit to at least $25,000 for each.

Grande posted two images by New York-based photographer Robert Barbera. NBC News describes that they were placed side-by-side, with the caption “happy sweetener day” to celebrate the release of her album, Sweetener. The same source writes that the post gained over than 3 million likes, but it has been removed from the singer’s Instagram page.

The lawsuit states that Barbera is the author of the images Grande posted to her Instagram. Therefore, he has “at all times been the sole owner of all right, title and interest in and to the photographs, including the copyright thereto.”

The photographer has sued Grande and her company Grandari. He is seeking either $25,000 for each photo or the profits Grande earned for posting them, whichever sum is greater.

Perhaps you remember that Ariana Grande recently got under fire after requiring photographers to transfer their copyright of the concert images to her tour company. However, the photos Barbera took weren’t taken at Grande’s concert, but in the street. I’m not really a fan of paparazzi, but the fact is that Barbera took these images and he has every right to protect them from copyright infringement. So, I think he has a solid chance of winning the lawsuit. And frankly, I hope he wins.

[via NBC News; image credits: Emma/Wikimedia Commons]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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45 responses to “Ariana Grande sued by a photographer for posting photos of herself on Instagram”

  1. Tunes Firwood Avatar
    Tunes Firwood

    Given that the photo only has value because it exploits her stature, and was taken without consent by a parasite – I suspect the world would be a better place if he loses. Feeding off the work of others, and then being precious about it, just makes photographers look like even more abusive than people already believe them to be.

    People used to believe that a photo stole part of your soul: some modern photographers show that to be true.

    1. Ian Brace Avatar
      Ian Brace

      No doubt they will be counter sueing, some photographers try and make money off others without permission.

    2. Olivier Gallen Avatar
      Olivier Gallen

      She used his work, work is not free, she has to pay. Let’s keep this simple.

      1. Rene Avatar

        And what about been photographed without consent? I don’t now how it works, but in Paris if you posted a photo of some person without it permission can be sued and fine is about 2000 euros.

    3. Tunes Firwood Avatar
      Tunes Firwood

      Olivier: his work is only worth anything because he’s feeding off her work. Why defend a parasite?

    4. Dave Creaney Avatar
      Dave Creaney

      If she posted it, it’s promotional material for her. It has value to her, as content. If you want content, you pay for it. It’s a two way street.

    5. Olivier Gallen Avatar
      Olivier Gallen

      In addition it may help Ariana (and others) understand how copyright works, which has educative value in itself ✌️

    6. Jeff Camp Avatar
      Jeff Camp

      Tunes Firwood “feeding off the work of others” what do you think most photography is lol… do you photograph buildings? Did you build said buildings? What about weddings? Did you cultivate that relationship for years? Food? I bet you cooked that too right? Action sports? You’re a pretty strong athlete too I bet ??

    7. Tunes Firwood Avatar
      Tunes Firwood

      Jeff: no, I photograph dancers: and yes, I dance. Your argument is specious, however – weddings, food, action sports are all events where photos are taken with consent and have inherent value either to the recipient or third parties at large.

      The photo in question here has *zero* inherent value beyond the fact that it’s a snapshot taken of a famous person: her stature is literally the only redeeming feature of it. The world would not be diminished one iota if that class of photography disappeared.

    8. Tunes Firwood Avatar
      Tunes Firwood

      John: born in a Republic, mate, so your cold reading skills are pretty sheite.

      A snapshot of a celebrity is only newsworthy *because* of celebrity. That’s exactly the point. Photographers getting precious about their “rights”, and alienating the people they’re trying to extort money from, is how we end up with laws being changed.

      Frankly, photographers in this instance deserve to lose the protection of laws they use to exploit others.

      1. Riccardo Ulpts Avatar
        Riccardo Ulpts

        Are you a photographer? “Frankly, photographers in this instance deserve to lose the protection of laws they use to exploit others.” Shows that you clearly understand nothing in this industry. Secondly it is super immature and stupid. Creative jobs need protection or else anyone can just copy and profit of using someone else photos to promote their Album in this case as Ariana did. No wonder she took it down. I don’t think its too much to ask if she hired someone to take photos to promote her album.

  2. Marylissette Torres Avatar
    Marylissette Torres

    Frankly DIYPhotography i hope the photographer loses. Cause last time i checked the person in the photo has every right to sue. The fact that you are approving a toxic behaviour from the photographers part is quite disappointing.

    1. Daniel Bksz Avatar
      Daniel Bksz

      Marylissette Torres probably the last time you checked you were just as badly informed as you are now. Without the authors permission she has no right to use anything whatsoever.

    2. Marylissette Torres Avatar
      Marylissette Torres

      Thats if the said photograph was Photoshop by her but its not. Shes in the picture. Say what you will but she has right over it. If it was another artist in the photo and she was claiming it was her then thats another story. But its not. She has a right over it.

    3. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
      Adrian J Nyaoi

      Marylissette Torres holy mother of god! You are the most uninformed person I come across on the internet when it comes to IP law. Please do yourself a fevour a do some more checking on the relevent law.

    4. Anthony Guerriere Avatar
      Anthony Guerriere

      Actually if you’re photographing out in public you don’t need anyone’s permission technically, it’s just basic respect to ask someone if they’d mind if their photo was taken…being that this person is paparazzi I doubt he did but it’s still out in public so the photos are absolutely his property.

    5. Howardo Mansfieldio Avatar
      Howardo Mansfieldio

      Marylissette Torres so you can “take” someone’s copyright and claim it as your own, so long as you don’t use Photoshop?

      Interesting. I’d like to learn more about this method of transferring ownership. Can you link me to a source?

    6. Vic Hernandez Navarrete Avatar
      Vic Hernandez Navarrete

      Marylissette Torres so what you are saying is all the street photgraphy photos ive taken that have strangers in them are owned by them and not me?

    7. Jeff Camp Avatar
      Jeff Camp

      Marylissette Torres where did you check? A copyright attorney? If so you might want to get a new one ?. If not… then you should ?‍♂️

    8. Daniel P Sousa Avatar
      Daniel P Sousa

      Vic Hernandez Navarrete do you think you should have the right to sue them for sharing your photo of them on their social media?
      That’s fucked up.

  3. El Toro Avatar
    El Toro

    Honest question here….how would it be explained to a non-photographer or an artist…If someone takes a picture of you, without your permission and consent they still have a right to profit from you. And the picture is valuable only because you were photogrpahed while earning your livelihood (hard at work) without your permission and consent.

    1. Dave Creaney Avatar
      Dave Creaney

      You push the button, you get the copyright. Content of the image doesn’t matter. It’s your image.

    2. El Toro Avatar
      El Toro

      Dave Creaney Is that how you would explain it to someone with no concept of copyright law? Example…if a parent is at the playground watching over their kid and a photographer is taking pictures of the kid playing with the parent from across the street (parent is not aware of the photographer presence and child is not aware), then photogrpaher uploads picture and tags the park (i.e. central park), then parent sees and uses photo for social media and photogrpaher sues the parent for using a photo of themselves and their child. And parent wants to understand why the law is on the phtogrpahers side and not the child and parent. The state of existing and living your life without the knowledge that someone has copyrighted you existing without your consent is fair game. Do you just say, “I push button so mine…”?

    3. Paul Ford Avatar
      Paul Ford

      El Toro So if someone copy’s her music onto bootleg CDs and sells it its exactly the same, copyright is copyright.

    4. Keith Jacobs Avatar
      Keith Jacobs

      El Toro You tell them that the image belongs to the photographer and further explain to them what acceptable use means. If the parent is sharing it on their social media outlets for friends and family to see then there shouldn’t be a problem. Its when the image is being used commercially that there is an issue.

    5. El Toro Avatar
      El Toro

      Keith Jacobs Keith Jacobs Your response helps a lot and I better understand, thank you. If it is cool let me try to better understand the photogrphy world… Photogrpaher in public place takes picture of family in public place, so photog owns picture, and one of many reasons is the family and photog both wave their right to privacy by being in public (no protection to persons because you are out in public). So if photographer is in public (i.e. sidewalk) takes picture of family through the window of a private home then thats an illegal act, family is in private place and protetected by laws ( I assume).

      This photographer (in the article) was in a public place when he took the picture of the artist, who was conducting a private concert in a private venue to people who had to pay to look at her in the private venue. Does the artist performing have the same protections from being photographed just as a family that is in their privately owned home or am I interpreting this incorrectly and its a false equivalent?

    6. Keith Jacobs Avatar
      Keith Jacobs

      El Toro Where the subject is standing, be it private or public property, plays no role as long as they are in public view. For example, lets say someone is sitting in their house and their windows were open so that anyone in the public could see in. A photographer could legally take a photo and control the use of it, even profit from it. The person voided their assumption of privacy by opening their home to viewing from outside. This is how the paparazzi get away with many of their shots. The only time when it becomes an issue is when the person in the home has a definite assumption of privacy, ie. their blinds/curtains are closed.

      When it comes down to who owns the rights to a photo, the photographer always does unless the subject has signed a contract with the photographer that transfered some or all the rights over. This remains the case even if the photo was shot from public view and the subject was unaware they were being photographed.

    7. El Toro Avatar
      El Toro

      Keith Jacobs Thank you for taking time to thoroughly explain this and if its okay I want to keep going to make sure I understand better (feel free to ignore if its too much). So it is not enough to be in a private setting to be protected from your image being taken without your permission. You need to have a succesful obstruction to anyone’s view (i.e. binds), so if one of the blinds is broken /bent then they are back to public view. Would making it known that the only people who purchase a ticket can look at you performing during a specific time be considered making an asumption of privacy or because its an open venue its impossible? Also how do release forms come in to play and does it vary from medium to medium (photography, audio, video).

      1. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar

        I think we got a sea lion here.

    8. El Toro Avatar
      El Toro

      Marcelle Bell What specific laws, statues, or court decision can a photogrpaher point to to see what is or isn’t allowed?

    9. Tunes Firwood Avatar
      Tunes Firwood

      El Toro: I’d point out that photography, like painting, used to require skill and dedication – which society recognised by giving the photographer a temporary monopoly on the resulting photo. I’d also point out that this is an outdated concept, out of sync with modern realities, that is commonly abused by photographers which is why this kind of disconnect exists.

  4. Justin Prim Avatar
    Justin Prim

    Hmm my thing is if he’s making money off the picture did he get a model release from her ? After all that’s what the rest of us have to do

    1. Jeff Camp Avatar
      Jeff Camp

      Justin Prim not if it’s new worthy. He only would need that if he were trying to license it for a commercial campaign. He is more than able to sell to news outlets or as a “fine art” print on his website.

  5. Amanda Vieira Avatar
    Amanda Vieira

    Usually I’d be on her side (as people stated before, being out in public he has the right to photograph him, what he couldn’t do is use the photo for commercial purposes without her consent).
    But after the bullshit she pulled with that contract for the concert photographers, it serves her right.

  6. Dimitris Theodoridis Avatar
    Dimitris Theodoridis

    question is….how did Ariana got hold of a paparazzi’s photos of her taken out on the street without her permission!!! if one assumes that the photographer posted them on his instagram account and then Ariana just copied them on her account then that serves his right…..actually he should be the one paying Ariana money for posting his photos taken without permission on his account on the first place…….just saying…

    1. Keith Jacobs Avatar
      Keith Jacobs

      Dimitris Theodoridis generally, paparazzi rely on the fact that permission is not required if the photo is taken in public. Like any other photographer, they should be able to post their images anywhere they like without fear of people stealing them.

    2. Dimitris Theodoridis Avatar
      Dimitris Theodoridis

      Keith myself being a street photographer i believe the concept is right… but from the moment they go a step further demanding money from person they shot in public because she reposted her own photo taken in public… in her own media account….then demanding money for this makes absolutely no sense and cannot be considered as stealing as in the first place no permission was asked for the shot to be taken….thus no reference to the photographer is either needed….. simple?

    3. Dimitris Theodoridis Avatar
      Dimitris Theodoridis

      John… thing i will agree with you…that we disagree completely.But thats ok…..i thank you for expressing your different opinion.Probably you are right and ibam wrong but thinking differently on the same subject has its itwls own beauty.

  7. Jeff Camp Avatar
    Jeff Camp

    “Arianna Grande sued after allegedly infringing photographers copyright” there you go fixed your title for you ?‍♂️

  8. Petar Maksimovic Avatar
    Petar Maksimovic

    I kinda feel lucky that I don’t have a clue who this Arianna person is.

  9. Daniel P Sousa Avatar
    Daniel P Sousa

    Paparazzi are photographers the same way house robbers are movers.
    Or rapists are sex workers.

    So I definitely hope she wins.

  10. Duncan Knifton Avatar
    Duncan Knifton

    sorry but the Paparazzi make photographers look bad!!
    hate them

  11. Marcelle Bell Avatar
    Marcelle Bell

    As one who owns copyrights and trademarks and such, I just can’t buy into this whole “the photographer, in this particular situation, should win.” My mind quickly shifts to ‘when is an image of my body in a public place the possession of anyone?’ The image should belong to no one, in the sense of monetary compensation. Not the photographer, not even Ariane Grande.

  12. Michael Groah Avatar
    Michael Groah

    A lot of commenters on this post are a lot the reasons photographers are having trouble making money.

  13. Tom Fox-Davies Avatar
    Tom Fox-Davies

    I’m not aware of all the details but what I think needs highlighting is that Grande used this on her social media as album promotion. She used the image for commercial purposes without getting image clearance. Regardless of where you feel paparazzi sit on the spectrum of pondlife the fact of the matter is that, while she is the subject of the picture, you can’t just go and use someone else’s copyright for commerical gain. I dislike paparazzi but without copyright protection everyone loses.