Not just lip service: the reality star’s latest Instagram shoutout could be worth $380,000
Kylie Jenner is putting her money—and her 84.2 million Instagram followers—where her mouth is.
The 19-year-old social media star has resolved a copyright infringement dispute with makeup artist Vlada Haggerty. In late 2015, Jenner used images of metallic-looking lips dripping with paint— highly reminiscent to photos of Haggerty’s work —to promote her in-demand “Kylie Lip Kit” cosmetics line, leading the beautician to threaten a lawsuit. While Jenner eventually credited Haggerty for inspiration and then deleted the image from her Instagram account, the internet never forgets.
On Jan. 24 however, Jenner uploaded an image of Haggerty’s work and urged her fans to “check out this inspiring photograph” from Haggerty, marking the end of a controversy that provoked heated debate on social media. In less than 24 hours, the post received more than 800,000 likes. Stephen McArthur, Haggerty’s attorney, confirmed that the dispute was resolved but had no further comment. (Jenner’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.)
This appears to be a win-win resolution for all sides. For one, an endorsement from Jenner could be worth far more to Haggerty than financial compensation handed down by a court. Jenner currently charges around $380,000 for a promotional Instagram post, says Frank Spadafora, a former casting agent and now chief executive of research firm D’Marie Analytics. “She’s one of the top five influencers on Instagram today and very valuable.”
According to Julie Zerbo, the legal expert behind The Fashion Law blog, statutory damages for copyright infringement cases are capped at $150,000. She thinks Haggerty had a reasonable shot in court, given that her work looks sufficiently original—it appears to be influenced in part by an image from the late Vogue photographer Guy Bourdin—but that her primary motivation as a makeup artist was to promote herself. “Kylie has such a vast following that everyone assumed the work belonged to her,” says Zerbo. “Now, that’s kind of remedied.”
That said, Haggerty doesn’t seem to have actually officially registered her copyright claim to the images. While she could have still sued, “chances are, she’s getting a pretty good deal here,” Zerbo says.
This story was originally published on MarketWatch.
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