Emily Ratajkowski Settles Copyright Lawsuit After Posting Pic Of Herself

Emily Ratajkowski Settles Copyright Lawsuit After Posting Pic Of Herself


After several years of litigation, Emily Ratajkowski has privately settled a copyright infringement lawsuit launched at her after she posted a paparazzi photo of herself online.

According to Buzzfeed, the lawsuit was launched by a celebrity photographer Robert O’Neil in 2019 after Ratajkowski shared an image he took of her to her Instagram. The photo showed her leaving a floral boutique in New York.

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Clearly trying to avoid paparazzi, the celebrity’s face was hidden behind a large bouquet of flowers, leaving her largely unrecognizable in the photo.

After the image was published online, Ratajkowski shared it to her Instagram Story with the caption, “Mood forever.”

However, it wasn’t long until O’Neil sued the model over the social media post. In his lawsuit, the photographer claimed Ratajkowski failed to get permission or the rights to post the licensed photo. O’Neil was seeking $150,000 in damages.

A post shared by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata)

Ratajkowski isn’t the only celebrity to face similar lawsuits, with Khloe Kardashian and Liam Hemsworth being faced with similar cases. But unlike others, Ratajkowski opted to fight back against the accusations in court.

Ratajkowski’s legal team argued the image had no “artistic quality,” Buzzfeed notes, since he had captured the photo while she was in public not during a photoshoot. This would therefore make her social media post a product of fair use and not qualifying for copyright protection.

“The protections afforded by the Copyright Act are only available to a party ‘who has actually formed the picture by putting the persons in position, and arranging the place where the people are to be,’” Ratajkowski wrote in a court motion. “This is true even if the plaintiff holds a registered copyright.”

Ultimately, however, the judge assigned to the case found that the image met a low threshold of originality. As such, Ratajkowski did commit a copyright infringement.

A post shared by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata)

With the lawsuit settled privately, it’s unclear how much Ratajkowski had to pay for the alleged copyright infringement. Regardless, the case is ground-breaking in the world of social media and paparazzi photos. It will likely set a precedent for similar cases.

This isn’t the first time O’Neil has sued a celebrity for copyright infringement. Also in 2019, he launched a case against Gigi Hadid for a photo she posted to Instagram of her on-and-off boyfriend Zayn Malik.

“Gigi Hadid is not, and has never been, licensed or otherwise authorized to reproduce, publicly display, distribute and/or use the Photograph,” court documents argued. Like his case against Ratajkowski, O’Neil was seeking $150,000 in damages from Hadid.

As per Fashion Law Business, this marked the third time Hadid had been sued for copyright infringement over paparazzi photos shared to her social media.

Sources: Hollywood Reporter, Buzzfeed, E! Online, Fashion Law Business,

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