Photographer Robert Barbera has filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Miley Cyrus over images she uploaded to Instagram. Prior to suing them, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Dua Lipa (twice) all reached out-of-court settlements.
Barbera claims in this most recent complaint that he captured a picture of Cyrus waving as she left a structure in February 2020. Soon after, the picture surfaced on Cyrus’ Instagram account without his knowledge.
According to the legal petition, which was obtained by Law360, “the photograph was duplicated, kept, and shown without licence or permission, thereby infringing plaintiff’s copyrights.” The phrase “the infringement includes a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) for a fixed tangible medium of expression that was sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be communicated for a period of more than a transitory duration and therefore constitutes a specific infringement” means that the URL in question was used. You are aware now.
Barbera has turned this type of litigation into something of a sideline to his profession as a paparazzo, despite not being the first photographer to do so. In 2019, he filed his first case of this kind against Justin Bieber, who was then being represented by Richard Liebowitz, an attorney who had just been branded a “known copyright troll” by a judge and was required to take a course on “ethics and professionalism.”
More lately, Craig B. Saunders has defended Barbera; he specialises in copyright and trademark infringements, but, as far as we know, no judge has ever accused him of being a troll. However, that doesn’t mean he has never been addressed in that way by anyone (he has).
It would be interesting to watch how Cyrus reacts and whether she decides to settle as well rather than contest the allegation in court.