Another Major Celebrity Sued for Posting a Picture of Themselves on Instagram

Another Major Celebrity Sued for Posting a Picture of Themselves on Instagram

You have probably read at least one story like this at some point. A celebrity is being sued for posting a picture of themselves on Instagram, and this time, it is Jennifer Hudson.

The well-known singer and actress is being sued by New York photographer Fernando Ramales in Manhattan federal court. Ramales took a photo of the star in late 2019 in a building lobby, after which a news website purchased the shot and used it in a story on December 21. 

On December 31, Hudson posted the photo on her Instagram with Ramales' watermark removed. The post remains up as of now:

Richard Liebowitz, Ramales' attorney and the same person representing photographer Steve Sands in a similar lawsuit against Jennifer Lopez, said: 

More and more celebrities are using social media to reach out to their fans to promote their brand by using photographs. But Ms. Hudson and her company did not get the proper permissions to use the photograph, and they also cropped out the photographer’s watermark identifying him as the copyright holder. You simply can’t do that.

Ramales is asking for $175,000 in damages plus attorney fees.

Lead image by SSG Sun L. Vega, public domain.

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Jeff McCollough's picture

Another clickbatey title on an Fstoppers article.

Dan Howell's picture

It looks like an repost from the photographer's instagram. isn't that within Instagrams agreement to use the platform?

This page has a link to Jennifer Hudson’s post that’s allegedly a copyright violation, so this page is perhaps violating the photographer’s copyright, but should be okay because it’s illustrating a point in a news article.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Where do you see a repost? I don't. IG doesn't have a repost feature.

Dan Howell's picture

the second image on Hudson's post shows Instagram icons at the bottom.

Jeff McCollough's picture

That's because it's a screen shot she snagged off someone else's Instagram.

Dan Howell's picture

if you think that instagram usage is black letter law I think you'll be disappointed, especially when it come to reposting.

Jeff McCollough's picture

The thing is that Instagram doesn't have a repost feature. And just because you find a picture posted somewhere on Instagram doesn't grant you the right to post it.

I have read the T&Cs of both FB and IG and neither give third parties the right to steal content.


The image was since removed from IG. If she was in the right she wouldn't have removed it. I'm sure her lawyer read the T&Cs before instructing her how to proceed.

Another Fstoppers article with a headline designed to frame the situation as something other than a blatant case of copyright infringement...

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Hope the photographer wins.

Glen Barrington's picture

I don't. We should all have a right to our own image. The way I' see it, she and he have a joint ownership in that image.

Unfortunately this is not how the law sees it. But thanks for your opinion.

Kirk Darling's picture

"Dog bites man." Not interesting anymore.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Until it happens to you...

Kirk Darling's picture

That wouldn't make it newsworthy for anyone else.

Arthur Morgan's picture

Photographers demand the right to take photographs of people whenever they want, but demand that the victims of this predatory photography pay for the pictures? Right, totally fair and balanced rights versus duties?

Kirk Darling's picture

Photographers who take pictures as permitted by law can use them as permitted by law. Nothing "predatory" about it. It's not as though the pictures were stealing anyone's soul.

Predatory? No. Parasitic? Yes.

$175,000 in damages. Serious question, where do they get these figures from. How does Jennifer Hudson using this photo equate to $175,000?

Kirk Darling's picture

One critical detail missing from the story is whether the copyright for the image was registered.

Arthur Morgan's picture

There is also no mention about a model release form being signed. This could be crucial if the picture has any financial value.

A model release is used when you’re making use of an image in commercial promotion. If you use it in news or just to say “hey look at this picture I took of Jennifer Hudson” among other uses there is no model release need.

It’s usually safe to assume, when you see that a pro or anybody with a lawyer is suing for copyright infringement, that there is a registration. Everybody in the business knows this is needed. “Idiot lawyer filed his complaint in court before submitting his copyright registration” would actually be newsworthy.

Kirk Darling's picture

In fact, there WAS a story in Fstoppers a few months ago about “Idiot lawyer filed his complaint in court before submitting his copyright registration." And that was newsworthy, although the number of subsequent commenters who clearly didn't understand the crux of the matter suggests to me that those people did not understand the necessity of registering copyrights. In fact, I'd guess that only a minority of photographers who market with Instagram are registering their copyright.

I’d guess only a very small percentage of people who comment on this site are pro photographers or lawyers.

Nobodyyyyyyy cares!!!! LOL

David Love's picture

Can we ban this topic here?