In the latest copyright infringement case of photographer against celebrity, photographer Claudia Fiorella Occhipinti has filed a lawsuit against socialite Paris Hilton for cropping, editing and posting images of herself to Instagram that Occhipinti had taken of her for a publicity campaign.
The lawsuit, filed at the end of November, states that Occhipinti was hired by Hilton in 2019 to take photos for her Electricity Perfume line (see Occhipinti’s original images from the campaign above). According to Law 360, the photographer claimed that her images of Hilton could only be used by Hilton to promote her perfume “in media, on packaging, or in advertising, and that no sub-licensing is allowed.” According to the lawsuit, Occhipinti is the sole author, owner and copyright holder of the specific Hilton images from the campaign.
The suit, filed in California federal court, came about after Occhipinti discovered that Hilton cropped and cut the images into her own montages on Instagram (where she has over 21 million followers) in scenarios featuring Barbie, aliens, unicorns, cartoon characters (below) and even other celebrities. In one cropped and composited shot, Hilton is standing next to a unicorn with the phrase “Sliving” positioned above them. In another, an image of Hilton by Occhipinti makes it appear that Hilton is standing next to supermodel Naomi Campbell.
Occhipinti’s filing, according to Law 360, asserts that “like many commercial photographers, Ms. Occhipinti’s livelihood largely depends on revenue generated by licensing her original and commercial works for reproduction, distribution, and public display. She also relies on her name being properly credited on her work.”
It continues: “Paris Hilton placed her own logo or the logo of her companies or products on the photographs as if Hilton or her companies owned the photographs, intentionally creating a false impression and misleading attribution of origin that defendants are the owners or authors of the photographs.
Occhipinti is now seeking monetary compensation for injunctive relief, damages, litigation costs and attorney fees.