A paparazzi photographer is suing Ariana Grande for posting photos of herself, that he shot, to her Instagram account.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in New York, alleges the pop singer violated copyright law in doing so.
New York-based photographer Robert Barbera snapped candid some shots of Grande leaving a store last year. In them, the pop star and MAC Cosmetics makeup brand ambassador is seen carrying merchandise from the release of her Sweetener album.
Grande posted the images on both Instagram and Twitter, captioning them “comfy merch n stuff” and “happy sweetener day,” respectively. The posts corresponded with the August 17, 2018 album release date.
The Instagram post has since been removed.
Barbera alleges that Grande violated his copyrights by posting the photos on her Instagram page.
“[Grande] is not, and has never been, licensed or otherwise authorized to reproduce, publically [sic.] display, distribute, and/or use the Photographs,” reads the lawsuit.
He is suing for either profits earned or $25,000 per image – whichever is greater.
The act of suing over unauthorized use of paparazzi photos has been a growing trend as of late. In December 2018, BuzzFeed News reported that several photo agencies have begun targeting celebrities who post their images without giving credit.
Gigi Hadid was the focus of one such lawsuit in January. Others that have been impacted by the paparazzi’s crackdown on unauthorized use include Kim Kardashian West and Jennifer Lopez.
As social media channels have grown, allowing celebrities to share their own images with fans, paparazzi profits have plummeted. As such, it’s unsurprising they’re trying to recoup some of their losses via lawsuits over unauthorized use of copyrighted photos.
Interestingly, Grande announced strict guidelines earlier this year for photographers outside her Sweetener World Tour. Several major outlets, as well as the National Press Photographers Association have protested the singer’s photo policies.
Seems fair to us that celebrities should be able to freely give away photos that were taken of them in public without permission. But maybe that’s just too common-sense and honest for the money-hungry paparazzi.