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Miley Cyrus Settles Copyright Infringement Lawsuit with Paparazzi

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Miley Cyrus has settled a copyright infringement lawsuit a month after she was sued for posting an image of herself on Instagram without the photographer’s permission.

In the lawsuit which was filed on September 9, paparazzi photographer Robert Barbera alleges that he took a photo of Cyrus waving to onlookers as she exited a building in February 2020.

Shortly afterward, New-York based photographer Barbera claims that Cyrus posted his photo to her Instagram profile, which boasts 181 million followers, without his permission.

In his complaint, Barbera claimed Cyrus has an “immense presence” due to her millions of followers on Instagram, and that posting the image “crippled if not destroyed” his ability to make money licensing it.

Billboard reports that Cyrus has now settled out of court with the photographer. According to court documents filed on Wednesday, the lawsuit has subsequently been dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning Barbera cannot refile the same claim again in that court.

According to Billboard, if the court had found Cyrus guilty of infringing Barbera’s copyright, the singer could have faced damages totaling as much as $150,000. This is why many celebrities accused of infringement by photographers opt to settle out of court, likely for a smaller sum. The publication reports that although the terms of these settlement deals are nearly always private, amounts likely range in the tens of thousands of dollars for a single photo.

Barbera sued Dua Lipa for copyright infringement in June. Barbera also previously sued Justin Bieber in 2019 for sharing his image on his social media accounts without his permission. Bieber reportedly settled out of court with the photographer.

While Cyrus and Bieber chose to settle with Barbera, other celebrities fought back when they were sued for posting an image of themselves without the photographer’s permission. PetaPixel previously reported on why some celebrities license photographs of themselves whiles other steal them.

U.S. copyright law is quite straightforward when it comes to intellectual property and clearly states that the person who “authored” a work is the copyright owner, such as a photographer who takes a picture of a celebrity. But despite this crystal-clear definition of intellectual property in the eyes of the law, some celebrities still refuse to license images for their social media and adamantly believe they should own the photos taken of them, not the photographers.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

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