While Ariana Grande may be the biggest pop star at the moment, she may also be the unluckiest. A human embodiment of Newton’s third law, it seems like every harmless thing the thank u, next singer attempts spurs some negative and, if we’re being honest, hilarious cosmic reaction. She gets a Japanese-themed tattoo promoting a new single; it reads “charcoal grill.” She headlines Coachella; someone chucks a lemon at her head. The list goes on.
Now comes word that the “7 rings” vocalist is getting sued… for posting a picture of herself.
Earlier in the week, paparazzi photographer Robert Barbera filed a lawsuit against Grande, alleging that the starlet violated copyright law by posting two pictures of herself on social media. The photos in question — which Barbera snapped from afar, presumably without her consent — shows the singer walking out of a building with a bag sporting the name of her Sweetener LP. She posted the two pictures on Instagram and Twitter last August to coincide with the release of the 2018 album.
Now, Barbera is suing her for damages amounting to the larger sum between $25,000 per picture or all the profits Grande earned from the photos, meaning he’s probably angling for a healthy slice of Sweetener’s first-day sales. The lawsuit reads, “[Grande] infringed [Barbera’s] copyright in the Photographs by reproducing and publicly displaying the Photographs on the Instagram Page… [Grande] is not, and has never been, licensed or otherwise authorized to reproduce, publically display, distribute and/or use the Photographs.”
So, while Grande didn’t get permissions to use the photos, the whole thing begs questions about the fairness of someone getting sued for posting pictures of literally themselves. Editor’s Note: It’s also worth noting that the photographer has a legitimate claim, especially since the images were used to directly advertise Sweetener. It’s perfectly legal to take a picture of someone in a public place; it’s not legal to use that image — even if you’re the subject — for the purpose of promotion without permission.