Can you be sued by posting a photo of yourself on social media?
You can if somebody else took the pic and holds the copyright to it, as Jessica Simpson found when she was slapped with a lawsuit by a photo agency who decided to sue the former “Newlyweds” star for posting one of its photos (of her) on Instagram and Twitter.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, photo agency Splash News had granted exclusive rights to the Daily Mail to publish paparazzi photos online of Simpson exiting the New York’s Bowery Hotel — which Simpson then shared on her various social media accounts.
In its suit, however, Splash News is contending the company never granted permission for Simpson, 37, to use the photos, and by posting them online she violated Splash News’ copyright.
Also named in the lawsuit is the website Reality TV World, which picked up the photo from her Instagram post and ran it online.
“Simpson or someone acting on her behalf copied the Photograph and distributed it on Instagram — within hours of its original publication on August 9, 2017,” writes attorney Peter Perkowski in the complaint. “The copy of the Photograph that Simpson distributed on Instagram had been altered, without authorization or approval, to remove the CMI showing plaintiff as the copyright owner of the image.”
Splash News contends that Simpson sharing the photo on social media took away potential revenue that could have been generated by licensing the photo to other media outlets.
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“Simpson’s Instagram post and Twitter tweet made the Photograph immediately available to her nearly 11.5 million followers and others, consumers of entertainment news — and especially news and images of Simpson herself, as evidenced by their status as followers of her — who would otherwise be interested in viewing licensed versions of the Photograph in the magazines and newspapers that are plaintiff’s customers,” the suit adds.
You can read the legal document in its entirety below: