Sued for Posting a Photo of Herself and Her Husband – The Kim Kardashian Version
Like any good social media influencer, Kim Kardashian posts photos of herself on her Instagram account. Back in October of 2018, she posted a rare picture of her husband, Kayne West, smiling with her by his side.
To date more than 2.2 million people have liked the photo, but at least one person would have hit the dislike button if it was available. That person is Saeed Bolden, the photographer of the picture, who filed a complaint for copyright infringement against Kim and her company Skims Body, Inc. in the Eastern District of New York just last week. The bare bones complaint alleges that the photo was posted without permission. It further states that “Defendants have been willful, intentional, and purposeful, in disregard of and indifference to Plaintiff’s rights.” While the complaint doesn’t state a specific amount of damages, it does request that Plaintiff be awarded actual damages, attorneys’ fees and Defendants’ profits. Here, it seems that Bolden is not eligible for statutory damages because he did not register the photograph until April of 2019, more than three months after the June 2018 first publication date and many months after the alleged infringement began in October 2018.
So, what’s the connection to Kim’s shapeware line Skims Body, Inc.? Well, the complaint says that Kim’s Instagram account is Skim’s Instagram account. A quick review of the grid shows that Kim does promote Skims on her page, but Skims also has its own separate account. Was this a clever way to inflate the calculation of profits? Maybe, but we will probably never know…
The case was filed by the well-known copyright lawyer Richard Liebowitz, who has filed and mostly settled innumerable copyright lawsuits on behalf of photographers. Barring any fatal deficiencies in the Kardashian complaint, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a resolution of Bolden’s case against Kardashian based on an undisclosed settlement.