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Photographer sues singer Mariah Angeliq and Urban Outfitters for using a photo without his permission

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Photographer sues singer Mariah Angeliq and Urban Outfitters for using a photo without his permission

Los Angeles-based photographer Abdullah Webster filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the singer Mariah Angeliq, Penske Media and Urban Outfitters after his photo appeared without his permission on merchandise, on clothing and in campaign advertisements.

Webster claims that Angeliq failed to pay him and his business, Hexlastudios, for a picture he took of the 23-year-old reggaeton, trap, and R&B singer.

Back in 2021, Webster consented to take pictures of Angeliq strictly for her own personal, non-commercial use, with the caveat that they could only be shared on social media with due attribution to Webster and Hexlastudios.

“Mariah did not compensate Webster for the photoshoot. Before, during, and after the photoshoot, Webster put Mariah on notice that all of the photographs taken belonged to his company, Hexlastudios and that she may only post photographs for non-commercial purposes on social media, so long as she attributed the work to him and Hexlastudios,” the lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, the singer of "Taxi" sold one of the images to Urban Outfitters and Penske Media so they could use it to advertise Angeliq's music release, live performances during Latin Music Week, and clothing sales for the retail business.

The photographer claimed that Angeliq was fully aware that the print copy he supplied her a week after the photo shoot was only to be used for personal, non-commercial purposes.

The complaint further states the image was allegedly used to direct visitors to the websites of Urban Outfitters and Billboard Music. Additionally, Urban Outfitters purportedly sold t-shirts with the image on them.

“A lot of people in this business understand, like, if I shoot you, it’s like, okay, to post on Instagram,” Webster told to media outlet Atlanta Black Star. “Whatever. We’ll take our credit. It’s cool. But the moment you start profiting off of it is an issue because it’s like — hold up when we decided to shoot these photos, they weren’t even taken in the space of being put up for profit.”

The lawsuit “aims to shine a light on the practice of large companies profiting from the theft of intellectual property owned and created by young and gifted artists.”

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Mark Laudi

Mark Laudi

Press contact Managing Partner (+65) 6223 2249

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