Ludacris! Rapper Steals Photographer’s Picture, Pretends He’s on a Beach


Instagram is a popular platform for celebrities to share photos of their lavish lifestyles, but it’s also a social network in which many photos are published without permission and without credit to the original creator. Both of those things happened recently with an image posted by Ludacris.

On his blog, photographer Paul Pichugin writes that he was recently surprised when he discovered one of his photos of a beach sunset in the rapper’s Instagram feed, which is followed by over 2.2 million fans. The same image was also shared on Facebook, where it amassed over 129,000 Likes and nearly 6,000 shares.



The image is found among other photographs taken by Ludacris from rooftops and scenic locations, so it would appear to be just another image showing what life is like for the rich and famous.

Pichugin says that he would have happily allowed Ludacris to use the photo with a credit and link back to him. He has attempted to contact the rapper directly through various social networks, but has not received any response (the photographs are still online at the time of this writing).

He then tried commenting directly on the photographs, informing people that he was the real photographer behind it. Interestingly enough, Pichugin began receiving abusive messages from Ludacris’ fans.

“At this point people’s woeful understanding of copyright law came out in force,” the photographer writes.

After news of the copyright infringement broke, however, others began to come to Pichugin’s defense in the comments:

“check out this awesome photo that @ludacris didn’t take!,” one user writes. Another one states, “Hey @ludacris, just because you’re huge and us little people can’t touch you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t credit @paulmp for his hard work. Ridiculous.”


Pichugin has since filed DMCA complaints in an attempt to have the images taken down. He writes,

Apparently I should be “grateful” that my photo has been posted without credit because millions of people will see it, that’s great that they get to see it, but I get nothing out of that. […] I was told that because I had posted the photo on a public website, it was free for everyone to post, it is the same as saying that if you park your car in a public car park, it’s free for anyone to use, clearly not true.

[…] I was disappointed as you would think that someone who makes a living from their own art wouldn’t take the art of other people.

Pichugin says that he is looking into additional legal options as well. We will continue to update this post as the story unfolds.

Update at 4:25PM PST: The photo has been removed from Instagram, but is still available on Facebook.

  • MJrolla07

    In all fairness though, Ludacris doesnt actually say he took the photo. I often post pictures i like on my instagram account. He could have given credit though.

  • afnan

    Sun of the beach!

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  • libbydbone

    my buddy’s sister makes $87 every hour on the internet
    . She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her payment was $19402
    just working on the internet for a few hours. go right here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • Cleave F.

    But you do need to register your items in other countries to receive protections there. Despite the fact that your work is your art, people, even other artists such as musicians, are woefully uneducated about the use of other peoples images. I seriously doubt he has any idea or had intention of using your work without credit. I have personally worked with Chris and he’s a stand up guy. At the same token, this image seems to have been shared internationally and you’ve sort of picked the most famous person to start with for claiming credit. My sense is that you have lost this fight. If credit is important, watermark your stuff going forward.

  • Paul Pichugin

    Just a quick update, I got an email back from Facebook saying the content had been removed.. but it is clearly still there, so I’ve filed another DMCA notice against the image.

    I’m also talking to Image Rights, thanks to a suggestion on facebook and the image will be registered in the USA shortly. Other than that, I’m moving on, I am very grateful for the support and advice many of you have given me!

  • Deborah P

    as of 1:54pm EST it’s still there

  • Paul Pichugin

    Yes, they said they removed it, but they didn’t. So I’ve lodged another DMCA claim.

  • Deborah P

    As a photographer myself, i understand your pain. Just because he’s a famous person should not make him exempt from the law.

  • Paul Pichugin

    Cleave, I’m sure he is a stand up guy, which is why I sent a direct message via Instagram and a direct message via Facebook to try to resolve it before posting screen shots etc… I’ve had zero response from him. I really do have no other options than the DMCA.

    Up until Ludacris shared my image, it had only been shared with attribution, which I am fine with, in fact I actively encourage it on Instagram, it’s how I’ve grown my audience.

    I haven’t picked the most famous, there have been a couple of other ones that my followers have tagged me in that have been posted without attribution, I’ve filed DMCA notices on all of them too. I do for most images of mine that I come across with no attribution.

    I would love to get in touch with Ludacris or his people, but so far messages and emails have gone unanswered.

  • Cleave F.

    Yeah, if I had a number I’d share it with ya. I also doubt that he is solely responsible for any if his social media feeds so you’re likely dealing with some young person’s lack of responsibility. I’ll dig around and see if I can find a resource for you to get in touch.

  • Paul Pichugin

    Thank you! Even just an email, I realise guys like him can’t just hand out numbers. I also suspect it is someone who works for him, rather than him directly… who ever it is, really needs to stay on top of the awful amount of spam he gets on the FB page in particular!