I stumbled upon an article the other day that challenged what copyright permissions one might have when posting videos and pictures on social media. It’s one thing to post content that is the property of someone else. but what happens when that property hosts a picture or video of YOU?

Just a few short weeks ago, Kendall Jenner was sued for posting a video of herself posing and waving to nearby paparazzi. Angela Ma, an NYC resident, filmed the footage. Ma is now suing Jenner for $150,000 plus attorney’s fees, demanding the profits that were accrued from the celebrity’s post.

It’s too bad that she didn’t learn from her sister, Khloe, who found herself in a similar situation in 2017. In fact, the Kardashians have quite a history of intellectual property allegations. As if the annoyance of being photographed constantly wasn’t enough, many celebrities are finding out that they can’t just reprint property that isn’t theirs – even if their likeness is on it.

Some celebrities are ignorant and simply republish pictures they find on the Internet. Others are aware that a photographer has copyright permissions and post a photo anyway, which is what Ma is accusing Jenner of. And whether it seems fair or not, copyright law is clear. In addition, purposeful infringement is penalized more than ignorant republishing.

At the end of the day, the photographer who takes the photo or video is the one who owns the “art.” One’s likeness being represented does not equal ownership or even joint-ownership. And since this mostly happens with celebrities, most cases like this end with a quiet and hefty settlement.

I’m Francine D. Ward, Intellectual Property attorney – helping you protect what’s rightfully yours. Until next time, be careful what you post!

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Francine D. Ward
Attorney-At-Law, Author, Speaker

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