Lisa Rinna is accusing a well-known paparazzi agency of shaking her down for $1.2 million and demanding that the court toss a lawsuit filed by the company.
As reported in July—the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star was hit by a lawsuit for allegedly swiping paparazzi snaps of herself and sharing them with her social media followers. Legal documents allege that the Bravo star posted at least eight photos that she supposedly pilfered from the paps. Backgrid claims that the reality star infringed on copyrighted material and that the company owns the photos posted on the Bravo star’s account.
The company added that the reality star not only shared the pics but “contributed to the reproduction, distribution and public display” when she prompted her 2.7 million Instagram followers to share the images. The agency noted that Rinna is a popular personality and that her IG shares are often viewed by hundreds of thousands of people. The company pointed out that Rinna also uses the account to peddle her beauty products and to promote her two daughters’ modeling careers, along with the Bravo reality show.
The company argued that “each posted photograph elicits thousands, and frequently, hundreds of thousands of comments from fans. Moreover, the account is not private, so anyone, including those who do not ‘follow’ her account, has access and can view the uploaded photographs, including the photographs at issue in this lawsuit.”
“Rinna has driven significant traffic to her Instagram account in large part due to the presence of the sought after and searched- for Rinna Photographs that frame this dispute. All of this traffic translates into substantial ill-gotten commercial advantage and brand awareness as a direct consequence of their infringing actions,” the agency added.
Backgrid and Rinna were not able to resolve their beef, despite the company sending her a legal letter outlining their concerns. They claim that they have “suffered substantial economic damage” because of the RHOBH star’s actions. They’re suing for $1.2 million in statutory damages and are demanding that Rinna cover their legal fees.
Rinna denies all claims of wrongdoing according to recently filed docs, obtained by Radar Online. She alleges that the company is “wrongfully setting up” celebrities by snapping shots and immediately copyrighting the pics, in order to boost income amid the Covid pandemic. The reality star alleges that all damage claims are precluded by the plaintiff’s fraudulent conduct. She is demanding that the case be tossed out.
Other celebs, such as Jessica Simpson and Dua Lupa, have landed in similar legal hot water with agencies who claimed ownership of shared images.
Rinna’s legal throw-down follows the news that she will be deposed by the lawyer investigating her co-star, Erika Jayne. Ronald Richards explained during a recent interview that he singled Rinna out from the cast because the actress had gone to “extreme” measures to defend her co-star.
Richards also described Rinna’s decision to refer Erika to her business manager as “unusual.”
“The reason why I put that out there is we have proof that Lisa Rinna referred Erika Jayne to her business manager this year. And this particular referral is unusual because typically business managers are not referred by other talent because people like to keep their money private,” the lawyer alleged. “They don’t want all their friends using their same CPA or the same person counting their money. It’s like everybody then knows everybody’s business. That’s typically not a referral that you get.”
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs on Wednesdays at 8 pm, ET, on Bravo.