Katy Perry accused of copyright infringement over photo use

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2019 | Copyright Law, San Francisco Civil Litigation Blog |

Copyright protections are far-reaching. This is great news for those who create a work, but it can spell trouble for those who are unfamiliar with these protections and are accused of misappropriating these works. When this happens, litigation can arise. For a copyright owner, such action is often necessary to protect their creative and financial interests in the work. For those accused of copyright infringement, it means possibly being hit with a judgment that costs them thousands or even millions of dollars. Therefore, matters related to copyright law need to be taken seriously.

This is true in a recent copyright infringement lawsuit involving famed singer Katy Perry. According to reports, she is being sued by Backgrid USA, a celebrity photograph agency, for allegedly misappropriating a photograph the agency took of her wearing a Hillary Clinton Halloween costume. Backgrid claims that Perry posted its photograph on her Instagram page back in 2016, where it remains active today, without licensing the imagine from it before doing so.

Backgrid therefore claims that its current and future market for the photograph has been significantly damaged. Additionally, the celebrity photograph business believes that Perry, who utilizes her Instagram feed to render herself marketable for endorsement and entertainment purposes, financially benefited from the use of the photo. Therefore, Backgrid is seeking $150,000 in statutory damages or actual damages, the extent of which won’t be known unless and until a proper accounting of the photograph’s impact occurs.

This case illustrates just how wide-ranging copyright protections can be. While we’ll have to wait to see if this claim ends up holding water in court, those dealing with creative works need to ensure that they are protecting their rights. On the other hand, those accused of copyright infringement should ensure that they are protecting their interests, too. So, when confronted with issues related to copyright infringement, individuals should consider consulting with an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.

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