New York-based photographer Robert Barbera filed a lawsuit against the singer on Monday, claiming copyright infringement over two of his photos that the singer posted to her Instagram without his permission, according to court documents filed at the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York.
The images in question are two paparazzi shots of Grande carrying a bag reading “Sweetener,” the same name as her fourth studio album. Grande shared the images on her Instagram on Aug. 17, 2018, captioning them with “happy sweetener day,” in reference to the release of the album. She has since deleted the post from her Instagram, but a similar post from three days later remains on her account. A screenshot of the original post was submitted in the case filing as evidence.
The court documents state that the initial Instagram post garnered 3,392,079 likes. It also states that Barbera’s photos were registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and that Grande did not license the images for use on her Instagram.
Barbera is suing for the profits that Grande earned from the post, or $25,000 in damages for each of the two photos.
The singer has yet to comment on the lawsuit.
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