The Real Reason Celebrities Are Getting Sued For Their Instagram Posts

While being a celebrity might be great for your social media following, it can actually make posting to Instagram a bit more complicated. Over the past few years a number of celebs have actually been sued for posting on Instagram. Among those who have found themselves in hot water for their IG photos are Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lopez, Emily Ratajkowski, and Mandy Moore.

For most of us, using a photo snapped by someone else on Instagram is no big deal (although technically, a professional photographer could take legal action against you for using one of their pictures without permission). Celebs, though, are far more likely to find themselves in trouble for copyright infringement when they post a photo they find of themselves online.

"If you paint a portrait of a celebrity, that celebrity can't then take your canvas and do what he wants with it just because it's his or her image," attorneys Domenic Romano and Leah Norod told E! News. "The same is true of a photograph — there are two sets of rights, that of the subject and that of the creator."

Getting sued for using an unlicensed image on Instagram can cost celebs a lot of money

While a celeb might think that reposting a photo is harmless — especially when that picture was taken without their approval — the law still sides with photographers. "These lawsuits are ironic and unfair," intellectual property litigator Neel Chatterjee told The Hollywood Reporter. "Paparazzi take pictures of them without authorization but then get irritated when the people they took pictures of use the pictures."

If celebs find an image of themselves online that they like, they need permission to use it before sharing it for free with their followers and thereby devaluing the image. "Celebrities should clear the usage with the photographer and pay them a fair sum that correlates with the proposed use," said Romano and Norod.

Damages for a lawsuit brought against a celeb for using an unlicensed image can run into six-figures — much more costly than the few hundred dollars it usually costs to buy the rights to use a photo. If celebs want to play it safe, they should stick to posting selfies on Instagram.