Jennifer Lopez and her Nuyorican Productions company are being sued for copyright infringement, according to legal documents obtained by Billboard.
The federal lawsuit, filed by lawyer Richard Liebowitz on behalf of New York photographer Steve Sands, argues that the artist used and shared on Instagram one of Sands’ photos without permission to allegedly “promote their brand.” Sands is now seeking $150,000 in monetary relief.
“This is an example of celebrities using photographers photographs without permission to brand themselves on social media,” Liebowitz says in a statement. “The number of likes the photograph receives coupled with their number of social media followers is a tool to commercialize their posts.”
The photograph in question, which has more than 600,000 likes and was shared to her nearly 120 million followers on Instagram, is an image Lopez posted back in June 2017 of her as her Shades of Blue character Harlee.
“Defendants infringed Plaintiff’s copyright in the Photograph by reproducing and publicly displaying the Photograph on the Website,” cites the lawsuit filed April 20 in the United States District Court Southern District of New York. “Defendants are not, and have never been, licensed or otherwise authorized to reproduce, publicly display, distribute and/or use the Photograph.”
Billboard reached to Lopez’s team for comment but did not hear back at press time.