Jennifer Lopez sued for $150k by photographer over Instagram photo

Actress shared photo in question to Instagram in 2017

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Tuesday 21 April 2020 22:10 BST
Jennifer Lopez sued over use of photo by photographer (Getty)
Jennifer Lopez sued over use of photo by photographer (Getty)

Jennifer Lopez is being sued for $150,000 over an Instagram photo she uploaded in 2017.

On Monday, it was reported that the 50-year-old is facing the copyright infringement lawsuit after sharing a close-up portrait without the permission of New York photographer Steve Sands, according to E! News.

In the photo, which was shared with Lopez’s more than 119m Instagram followers, she appears to be dressed as her Shades of Blue character, Harlee. She captioned the post “#Harlee.”

In court documents obtained by the outlet, Sands accuses Lopez and her production company Nuyorican Productions of using the photograph, which was posted on 22 June 2017 and liked more than 656,000 times, to “promote their brand” without proper permission or compensation.

"Defendants did not license the Photograph from Plaintiff for its Website, nor did Defendants have Plaintiff's permission or consent to publish the Photograph on its Website," the lawsuit states, adding that the photographer is “entitled to statutory damages up to $150,000 per work infringed."

According to lawyer Richard Liebowitz, who filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, the incident is an “example of celebrities using photographers' photographs without permission to brand themselves on social media.”

“The number of likes the photograph receives coupled with their number of social media followers is a tool to commercialise their posts,” Liebowitz added in a statement to E! News.

This is not the first time the Hustlers actress has been sued by a photographer for copyright infringement. Last year, Splash News and Picture Agency filed a federal lawsuit against Lopez for $150,000 over a picture of the singer holding hands with Alex Rodriguez in New York City, which she shared to her Instagram account in 2017.

At the time, the paparazzi agency said Lopez’s use of the photo negatively impacted the amount of money the company could have made as the picture was “creative, distinctive and valuable” and could have been licensed in magazines and newspapers.

“The photograph is creative, distinctive and valuable,” the company stated in court documents. “Because of the subject’s celebrity status, and the photograph’s quality and visual appeal, plaintiff (and the photographer it represents) stood to gain revenue from licensing the photograph. But defendant’s unauthorised use harms the existing and future market for the original photograph.

“The Instagram post made the photograph immediately available to Lopez’s tens of millions of followers… who would otherwise be interested in viewing licensed versions of the photograph in the magazines and newspapers that are plaintiff’s customers.”

The recent lawsuit has prompted a flood of Instagram comments from fans expressing their support for the On The Floor singer.

“Imagine being sued for posting a picture of YOURSELF,” one person wrote.

Another said: “Love a queen who stands her ground! Beautiful and strong.”

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