Crazy Little Thing Called Copyright: Queen’s Brian May Snaps At Photographer

Lead guitarist of rock band Queen snapped at a photographer who reported him to Instagram for copyright infringement after posting a picture of himself.

Brian May, 70, revealed that his Instagram account, with more than 120,000 followers, was temporarily suspended following a complaint from the photographer.

Copyright infringement

In an Instagram post on Monday, 13 November, May shared a screenshot of the copyright violation notice sent to him by Instagram after Barbara Kremer reported that May had published one of her photos of him without permission.

The photo in question was an image of him playing the guitar at a concert.

“I’m usually very careful to credit anyone whose photos I post, but in this case, at the end of the day, I must have forgotten,” said May in the post.

May went on to add his disappointment that the photographer went straight to Instagram as opposed to going directly to him, labelling this “an incredibly unfriendly act.” According to May, he then spent 45 minutes trying to reactivate his account.


Photographers can make their livelihood from selling celebrity photos to the media and copyright affords protection against unauthorised use of their pictures.

Celebrities posting images of themselves on Instagram have been at the centre of copyright infringement disputes previously. In September, fashion model Gigi Hadid was reportedly sued for allegedly posting a picture of herself on Instagram that belonged to a photographer. The post by the model, wearing a customised Adidas jacket, received over 1.2 million ‘likes’ on Instagram in 2016.

Instagram’s terms and conditions say: “If you repeatedly infringe other people’s intellectual property rights, we will disable your account when appropriate.”

For further information or advice on how to protect your photographs from copyright infringement or use photographs without infringing copyright, please get in touch.

Tidman Legal is a firm of specialist intellectual property lawyers based in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

This website uses cookies to give you the best experience. Agree by clicking the 'Accept' button.