Emily Ratajkowski is facing a lawsuit for sharing a photo of herself, but the new legal proceedings are not the first time the actress, model and author has shared photos of herself without the permission of the photographer. Photographer Edouard Opinaldo continues the American actress for sharing two of his photos on Instagram in 2019. Ratajkowski previously settled a case out of court after sharing an image by photographer Robert O’Neil. The actress has already taken a stand to allow “women to share their likeness as they wish”.
[Read: Dua Lipa Gets Sued for Posting Paparazzi Photo of Herself]
Opinaldo says the actress shared two images he copyrighted. Both images are of Ratajkowski herself wearing a pink pantsuit, shared on Instagram in 2019. The Instagram post was picked up by celebrity news posts, including Mail online. In the complaint, the famed photographer claims that sharing the images both interfered with his ability to earn income from them and helped Ratajkowski generate income through his online reputation.
Ratajkowski is just the latest in a long line of celebrities who have been sued for sharing images of themselves on social media. But, after a similar lawsuit from photographer Robert O’Neil, Ratajkowski argued she should be in control of her own likeness. In a Tweet after the 2019 lawsuit was filed, she said: “The digital pitch should be a place where women can share their image however they choose, control the use of their image and receive any potential capital attached. “
Ratajkowski, however, made an even bigger statement when she turned an image of herself into an NFT. Richard Prince, a painter known for his appropriate imagery that sometimes gets him into copyright issues himself, included two paintings featuring Ratajkowski as part of imaginary Instagram posts in a series of works. The painted Instagram post features the model wearing a bikini for a photoshoot for Sports Illustrated. The model took a photo of herself standing in front of the painting and then sold it as an NFT, where she profits whenever the digital artwork is sold. She called the NFT: Redeem myself: a model of redistribution. A second painting of her – this one including a nude photo of herself – had sold before the actress could purchase the image.
[Read: 6 Copyright Infringement Cases Photographers Should Know About]
In an essay for The Cut, she wrote: “I got used to big men suddenly appearing between cars or jumping out from behind corners, with glassy black holes where their faces should be. I posted the photo of me using the bouquet as a shield on my Instagram because I liked what it said about my relationship with the paparazzi, and now I was being sued for it. I have become more accustomed to seeing myself through paparazzi lenses than looking at myself in the mirror. And I learned that my image, my reflection, is not mine.
Under US copyright law, the photographer owns the rights to the image unless a prior agreement is in place, such as in an employment contract for hire. In a previous interview with Rangefinder, Aaron Stark, a copyright attorney, explained that while the photographer owns the copyright, the person in the image has what is called a right to The advertisement. The right to publicity indicates that the person in the photo has the right to control how their likeness is used for commercial purposes. However, this law applies to the commercial use of an image such as an advertisement and does not include fine art (such as the Prince painting) or editorial (such as newspapers and magazines).
The Opinaldo complaint, filed June 13 in New York, calls for a jury trial.