Thursday, June 13, 2024

Garcelle Beauvais Sued by Pap For Posting His Photos of Her Without Permission. Does He Have Legal Grounds?

Garcelle Beauvais
Haitian-US actress Garcelle Beauvais arrives for the “Emmy Nominees Night” event hosted by the Hollywood Reporter and SAG-AFTRA in West Hollywood, California, on September 10, 2022. (Photo by Michael Tran / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

*Garcelle Beauvais is the latest celebrity to be sued for posting paparazzi pics of their own images without permission from the photographer, who, by the way, rarely asks permission to take the photos in the first place. Do these paps have legal grounds to sue?

Yes, according to Portland, Oregon-based attorney J. Curtis Edmondson of Edmondson IP Law.

“The claim is legally actionable,” he tells EURweb exclusively. “However, the photographer may be subject to counterclaims by Ms. Beauvais for misappropriation of her likeness without her consent, with the assumption that she did not consent to the photo. Also, she may have defenses under the Copyright Act.”

According to Radar Online, the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star came across the paparazzi pics and posted them to her Facebook page on May 17. The photographer who took the snaps, John Carta, filed a federal lawsuit against Beauvais for sharing two photos “without permission or authorization.” The suit claims the actress, “actively copied and/or displayed [John’s] photographs on the Account and engaged in this misconduct knowingly and in violation of the United States copyright laws.”

In his lawsuit, Carta states that he earns a living by selling his photos to various third parties and that he obtained a copyright for the series of pics he took of Beauvais as she walked around New York in May 2022. He titled the pics, “Garcelle Beauvais standing with her hand out in the streets of NYC carrying a handbag while wearing denim shorts and a black satin-like blouse,” and said he selected the “subject matter, timing, lighting, angle, perspective, depth, lens and camera equipment used” to capture the images.

Garcelle Beauvais - screenshot - orange top
Garcelle Beauvais – screenshot

But Carta said that his plan to sell the photos was foiled when Beauvais posted them for free on her monetized Facebook account. He accused the reality TV star of using the photos to advance her brand and reputation, and that her monetized account “contains endorsements and promotes her celebrity profile and upon information and belief, [Garcelle] profits from these activities.”

Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time a celebrity has been sued by the paparazzi for posting photos of their own images without permission. In 2021, Beauvais’ former “RHOBH” co-star, Lisa Rinna, settled a $1.2 million lawsuit by paparazzi agency Backgrid USA, Inc., who said she illegally shared eight of their images on Instagram. In 2017, Xposure Photos filed a $175,000 lawsuit against Khloe Kardashian for posting a photo illegally on her Instagram account without giving the photo agency credit and removing their copyright information. But Xposure agreed to drop the lawsuit the following year.

Beauvais has yet to comment on her lawsuit. Carta seeks unspecified damages plus an order prohibiting the actress from improperly posting his work without paying in the future. According to Edmondson, Carta has filed “relatively few lawsuits,” but, “one of his attorneys, Ms. [Jacqueline] Mandel, has filed a fair number of cases from a diverse set of plaintiffs over the last two years. I am not sure of the commonality of the plaintiffs except that they are photographers.”

Edmondson adds: “This would make an interesting case to try and estimate damages, assuming the photograph was made without her consent.”

J. Curtis Edmondson - black and white headshot
J. Curtis Edmondson / via

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