5 January 2018Copyright

Sofia Richie hit with Instagram copyright claim

A photograph agency has hit fashion model Sofia Richie with a copyright claim after she posted images of herself on Instagram.

The claim (pdf) against Richie, who is the daughter of singer Lionel Richie, was filed on Tuesday, January 2, at the US District Court for the Central District of California by Backgrid.

Backgrid said it operates one of Hollywood’s largest celebrity photograph agencies and it has “earned a reputation of regularly breaking scoops on sought-after celebrity news”.

The agency claimed that Richie violated the law by wilfully infringing Backgrid’s copyright to at least seven photos on her Instagram account.

“On information and belief, Richie has driven significant traffic to her Instagram account in large part due to the presence of the sought-after and searched-for Richie photographs that frame this dispute,” said the claim.

Backgrid added that the traffic translates into “substantial ill-gotten commercial advantage”.

The photo agency said it had sent a demand letter in October 2017 to Richie’s attorney, but received no response. Backgrid then called the attorney and, according to the suit, the attorney said he was not sure whether the photographs were posted on Richie’s account.

Backgrid included links to three of the photographs it claimed were still on Richie’s Instagram. The links now lead to unavailable pages.

According to the agency, the infringements would generate an award of up to $1.5 million in statutory damages for the infringed photographs, in addition to its attorneys’ fees.

Reality TV star Khloé Kardashian became tangled up in a claim after posting a photo of herself and her sister going for a meal in Miami.

UK-based photography company Xposure Photos, which is the owner of the image, requested an injunction and damages.

Fellow model Gigi Hadid also faced a lawsuit after allegedly posting a picture of herself on Instagram that belonged to a freelance photographer.

The July 2016 post by the model, wearing a customised Adidas jacket, has received over 1.2 million ‘likes’ on Instagram. In December, the claim was dismissed.

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More on this story

28 April 2017   Khloé Kardashian has become tangled up in a copyright row over a photo she posted on Instagram.
11 September 2017   Fashion model Gigi Hadid is facing a copyright infringement lawsuit for allegedly posting a picture of herself on Instagram that belonged to a photographer.
2 February 2018   National Football League star Odell Beckham is suing Splash News and Picture Agency, after the company had demanded copyright royalties from the wide receiver.