Celebrity Fair Use of Paparazzi Photographs
Nathan Sabri authored an article for Bloomberg Law’s Professional Perspective series examining the nuances of fair use claims through the context of copyright lawsuits involving high-profile defendants, and how celebrities might be able to take advantage of the law to republish their likeness.
“Intellectual property practitioners know that the copyrights to a photograph are owned not by the subject, but by the photographer,” Nathan wrote. “Nevertheless, to many, something feels wrong about the result. How can it be that an actor or musician not only has no ability to control their own images or prevent others from profiting from unauthorized ambush photography, but can even be liable for using photographs of themselves?”
He added: “Emily Ratajkowski moved for summary judgment and argued, among other things, that there was nothing creative about the photograph of her—and therefore it did not qualify for copyright protection at all—and her social media post qualified as fair use. The court rejected the first argument, finding that the photograph met the “extremely low” standard for originality. As to the second, it found that material issues of fact as to fair use prevented a finding of summary judgment for either party.”
Read the full article.