There is a new trend in Hollywood, no not a new fade diet or wearing a scarf in the summer, its photographer suing celebrities who post their images. Justin Bieber was sued for copyright infringement for reposting a paparazzi's photo of himself to Instagram.
There is a time-honored rule in copyright law concerning photographs. The person is the owner of any photograph that it takes. Couple caveats to this rule. This does not apply if it was a work-for-hire or done in the course of employment. Meaning if you pay a photographer to take photographs at your wedding, you won the photos so long as there is an agreement in writing beforehand. Also, this does not apply to animals that take photos though. You can read about that wacky case here.
So even if someone else takes an image of you, they own it. Case closed...except for the exceptions.
This rule applies to celebrities and even paparazzi that stalk them and take photographs. Justin Bieber reposted an image of himself on Instagram that was taken by a paparazzi. But the Biebs didn't have permission to do so, therefore he committed copyright infringement. These cases have been popping up a lot lately and the celebrities have no real defense against the claims. These cases are likely settled quickly with a quick payday for the photographer and their attorneys. I expect Bieber to shell out some money to make this go away.
Celebrities should just stick to selfies, because since they took the image, they own them. Will costs them a lot less in retainers for their attorneys.