The photo in question was supposedly taken by the paparazzi outlet and later posted by the pop icon without the company’s permission on Oct. 29, 2016.
In the Halloween-themed snapshot, Perry, 35, was dressed up as Hillary Clinton alongside her Bill Clinton-outfitted friend Michael Kives. The pair were joined by the singer’s then-boyfriend (now fiancée) Orlando Bloom — who wore a Donald Trump costume.
“BILL & HILL 4EVA,” she captioned the post, adding a heart emoji.
In legal documents obtained by Billboard, Backgrid claimed they initially reached out to Perry’s representatives in July 2017 asking her to license the photo.
Because they allegedly reached out numerous times between then and Oct. 2019, the company is now seeking US$150,000 in damages (just over $197,000 CAD).
The document reads: “Defendants used, and continue to use, the photograph without authorization or permission from Backgrid to do so even after being aware of the infringement.”
Backgrid called the photo “creative, distinctive, and valuable” after Perry posted it to her Instagram page, which as of this writing, has amassed more than 86.2 million followers.
The lawsuit was filed in a U.S. District Court in California, three years after Perry originally posted the image (Oct. 29, 2019).
The suit added: “Because of celebrity status, and the photograph’s quality and visual appeal, Backgrid (and the photographer it represents) stood to gain additional revenue from licensing the photograph.”
Furthermore, Backgrid claimed that Perry had hurt “the existing and future market for the original Photograph,” causing “substantial economic damage” to the company.
A representative of Backgrid told Global News: “Backgrid is an entertainment news agency that works closely with celebrities. As such, it is never Backgrid’s objective to litigate against celebrities. ”
“Unfortunately, in the case of Ms. Perry,” the statement continued, “Backgrid reached out to her representatives in good faith and on a number of occasions to resolve this copyright infringement matter.”
Backgrid concluded: “In spite of Backgrid’s efforts, the photo at issue in the litigation has not been taken down. It remains live to this very day.”
Global News has reached out to a representative of Perry seeking further comment.
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