Lisa Rinna Reacts to "Shocking" $1.2 Million Lawsuit Against Her Over Paparazzi Photos

Backgrid photo agency sued Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Rinna in June alleging that the star infringed on the agency’s copyrights by posting their photos on her own Instagram.

By Mike Vulpo Oct 06, 2021 7:46 PMTags

Lisa Rinna is going to talk about it.

Earlier this summer, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star was sued by Backgrid, an agency that represents paparazzi across the country.

In the lawsuit obtained by E! News, the agency alleged that Rinna "violated federal law by willfully infringing Backgrid's copyrights to at least eight photographs on, at least, Rinna's Instagram account." As a result, the agency claims "Backgrid has suffered substantial economic damage."

But in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times published on Oct. 6, Rinna is speaking out about her relationship with photographers, which began long before she was a Bravo reality star.

"I've always seen it as a very symbiotic relationship," she told the publication. "It was part of the game, if you're going to be in this business. I've been nice, I've never fought with them, I've never run from them. My kids grew up with them jumping out of the bushes in Malibu."

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The Days of Our Lives star added, "We've had a very good relationship with the press and the paparazzi. That's why this is so shocking to me."

Charles Sykes/Bravo

According to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Rinna filed her own response claiming Backgrid is "taking advantage" of the Copyright Act.

"... It is only because of Ms. Rinna's hard work, dedication to her craft and resultant success that her image confers monetary benefits on the Plaintiff," the document stated. "Having taken and used Defendant's images in this fashion, Defendant is informed and believes and thereupon alleges, that an implied license was created between herself and the Plaintiff (and subject photographers), whereby it was understood that Ms. Rinna would be permitted to use and comment on these photographs of her and her family without facing a claim of 'infringement.'"

In her interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rinna said that she probably would not have objected if Backgrid sought a nominal fee for her Instagram posts. But according to the businesswoman, Backgrid's monetary asks are too much.  

"I understand paying a little bit. But to pay this much, it's very hard for me to say that's okay," she said. "There's something that's not right about this. Those photos are worth much less—I mean, it's my kids with masks on."

Rinna has more than 3 million followers on Instagram alone. Her daughters Delilah Hamlin, 23, and Amelia Hamlin, 20, each has more than 1 million followers on the social media platform. They are not named as defendants in the suit.

In a previous episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Rinna shared a glimpse into her relationship with the paparazzi. While attending an event for Denise Richards, the reality star noticed paparazzi snapping photos from afar. "On the positive side, there is paparazzi and there is a helicopter. You're still doing well" she shared. "If there was no helicopter or no paparazzi? Uhoh. Time for a job." 

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