British law firm claims copyright on paparazzi hot tub photos of pop star Rihanna with her billionaire Saudi boyfriend
According to the Lumen Database, a website that publishes online takedown requests, British law firm Carter-Ruck Solicitors is claiming copyright on paparazzi hot tub photos of pop star Rihanna cosying up to her new boyfriend, billionaire Saudi Toyota heir Hassan Jameel.
Records submitted by Google show that Carter-Ruck recently employed Web Sheriff, a British anti-piracy company, to target a number of well-known women’s magazines and gossip sites, including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Fashion Magazine, Uproxx, Complex, and perennial litigation-magnet Lipstick Alley.
On behalf of Carter-Ruck, Web Sheriff has sent Google around 14 requests claiming that the “pirated copyright photographs” were published “without license or authority,” and that “the nature of images means they do not qualify as ‘fair use.’”
Here is an example of one of the requests, via Lumen:
DMCA (Copyright) Complaint to Google
on behalf of Carter-Ruck Solicitors (Law Firm)
Sent on August 24, 2017
Mountain View, CA, 94043, US
Received on August 24, 2017
SENT VIA: UNKNOWN
NOTICE TYPE: DMCA
Copyright claim #1
KIND OF WORK: Unspecified
1. Rights Owners : CARTER-RUCK SOLICITORS / LAW FIRM (OWNER OF IMAGES VIA FULL ASSIGNMENT OF COPYRIGHT) 2. Rights Agent : WEB SHERIFF® 3. Infringed / Violated Rights : COPYRIGHT 4. Infringed Individuals / Entities : CARTER-RUCK SOLICITORS / LAW FIRM (COPYRIGHT OWNER) 5. Infringing / Violating Materials : PIRATED COPYRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHS (PUBLISHED WITHOUT LICENSE OR AUTHORITY – AND NATURE OF IMAGES MEANS THEY DO NOT QUALIFY AS ‘FAIR USE’)
At least one of the targeted publications, Toronto’s Fashion Magazine, has since 404-ed its article about the couple.
Carter-Ruck Lawyers has a reputation for using aggressive legal tactics to squash negative news stories about its celebrity clientele.
Last year, I blogged extensively about the firm’s attempts to censor internationally based journalists and Twitter users from reporting or discussing British pop singer Elton John’s open marriage (click here and here to read).