Ariana Grande sued by photographer for posting ‘Sweetener’ photo to Instagram
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By Minyvonne Burke
Ariana Grande is being sued for copyright infringement by a New York-based photographer who claims the pop star posted two of his pictures on her Instagram account without permission.
It is the latest instance of a celebrity facing allegations of copyright violations for photos posted on their social media accounts.
Photographer Robert Barbera filed the lawsuit against Grande and her company, Grandari, on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He claims the “thank u, next” singer’s Instagram post “infringed” on his rights.
The post showed Grande in two side-by-side images wearing an oversized gray sweatshirt and thigh-high boots while carrying a clear bag with the word “Sweetener” on it.
The 25-year-old singer and actress posted the photo in August with the caption “happy sweetener day” to celebrate the release of her album, “Sweetener.”
The social media post apparently left a sour taste for Barbera.
“Barbera is the author of the photographs and has at all times been the sole owner of all right, title and interest in and to the photographs, including the copyright thereto,” the suit states.
Barbera is seeking either $25,000 for each photo or the profits Grande, a former Nickelodeon star, earned for posting it on Instagram, where she has 154 million followers.
Grande did not immediately return NBC News’ request for comment. The Instagram post, which garnered more than 3 million likes, has since been removed.
In January, model Gigi Hadid found herself embroiled in a lawsuit with a New York photo agency that claimed she “copied and uploaded” a copyrighted image to her social media account in October 2018 without the agency’s consent.