Photographer and Agency Suing Model Gigi Hadid Over Instagram Post

Photographer and Agency Suing Model Gigi Hadid Over Instagram Post

Photographer Peter Cepeda is suing renowned model Gigi Hadid after she posted his shot of her on Instagram without his permission.

He took a photo of Hadid last summer, when she sported a jacket reading ‘Hadidas’ – a play on her surname and sports brand Adidas. Cepeda’s agency INF has since sold the image to various publications around the world, but are now claiming to be the sole owner of copyright and, as such, are suing for damages after Hadid posted the image on her Instagram. Cepeda claims she ripped the image from a news outlet, removed the byline which included his credit, and used the image on her social media pages. If true, this also violates photo laws, as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) states it as illegal to “violate the integrity of copyright management information,” - such as changing or removing the copyright info on a photo.

work flow 💆🏼 #hadid

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on

The post still remains live on Hadid’s Instagram account, with over 1.2 million likes.

The lawsuit was filed in a New York court last week. An extract reads:

As a result of Hadid's post, numerous prominent, commercial, online publications copied and posted the copyrighted photograph, crediting Hadid or Instagram. Peter has attempted to get in contact with the model and has made "numerous demands" to have the post removed but has been unsuccessful.

Cepeda is clear in stating that he licensed the photo to the Daily Mail and TMZ but not to Hadid herself, and has apparently since made several demands to her team, which have been rejected.

Who’s in the right here?

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18 Comments

Glen Grant's picture

This is so tough and hence why bands, artists, actors sometimes get nasty with media.
We acknowledge our rights and never want to have them trampled upon but hey, he's marketing her likeness and presumably making hay ($) so to go after her in such a manner can only backfire on the media in times to come.
Clearly he has the right to pursue her, but sometimes we need to be smart about things.
We are moving to a time where artists may simply protect their own likeness in some legal manner making it then impossible for anyone to profit from their captures of them.

Lane Shurtleff's picture

So far off base. The photographer has a contract with the agency as well as whatever media outlets license his copyrighted images along with payment for his services. She does not have the right to post her own likeness taken during a contractual situation and remove his copyright info. While he may be in a huge uphill battle through the courts, these models or any others in the media industry need to all learn what is allowed and what isn't.

Glen Grant's picture

As a media event photographer I have more than a passing glance at this.
You make some great assumptions and while I am not suggesting he has no legal basis, these are the situations that don't really make life going forward on both ends any better.
You can stand and chest thump all you want but I live this monthly so I know where I am coming from with my statements.

Lane Shurtleff's picture

Your statement doesn't apply to controlled studio contract assignments. I get that this image in question may have been taken in the public domain, but it is still owned by the photographer. Photographers asa group MUST keep pushing the ininformed to understand they can't just do what they want with copyrighted material.

Glen Grant's picture

I am in no way advocating in my statements that she has the right to do anything, I truly understand those rights. It is merely the process he's currently taking for the type of photo it obviously is.
This while his legal right to do so just that does lend to the media running afoul of many artists now.
TIFF (Toronto) is a good example as some well known artists having their teams block cams from taking pics, bypassing interview moments etc.
We can chest pound our rights but we also need to be reasonable at times (I am not saying he has not been, just the current approach lends itself to the divide.)
We simply will agree to disagree.
I have a fair use policy to my work for such instances, I find it works well and opens more doors than it closes.

Darren Nana's picture

Absolutely!

Leigh Miller's picture

Slippery slope...that picture wouldn't be a concern to me but once it starts there it will mushroom.

Simon Patterson's picture

Who's in the right here? An out of court settlement for an undisclosed sum is likely to follow, but this outcome will not answer the question.

He's obviously right and she's obviously wrong. Celebrities need to be brought down to earth really hard when they act like this.

David Love's picture

"violate the integrity of copyright management information", welcome to Instagram, designed to crop watermarks and info from the bottom of pics.

Daniel Lee's picture

Good on Peter for taking a stand. This could be great for us working photographers.

I have a different perspective on this. The photo is obviously a pop off pic he took while she was walking away from him with her hair in rollers and her jacket on to probably keep warm. She was not being paid for this and it is in no way a part of her contractual obligation. She was on what was probably a private set and had an expectation of privacy other than the photos she was actually posing and being paid for. This is no different than had he popped into the dressing room and taken a photo of her fully or partially undressed and sold it! She is not in a public place where the paparazzi is free to photograph her and copyright the image. She probably shouldn't have omitted his credit from her Instagram page but on the other hand she likely just copied the image without any kind of nefarious intent. Frankly they should just shut up because in my opinion this is going to end up costing them!

Dan Marchant's picture

There is a huge difference between private property and somewhere that a person would have an "expectation of privacy". This is no different than a photo taken in a museum or office building.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Did the photographer asked her permission to take her photo? Did he pay her? If someone took a photo of me without my permission, I feel free to post it in a million places without his/her permission. Seems fair to me.

Sean Gibson's picture

Agree, isn't this guy just paparazzi taking this photo? If so, then F... him. All paparazzi's are whores at best.

Dan Marchant's picture

You can feel whatever you want but the law is what it is. The photographer doesn't need someone's permission to take a photo in public or private (except for the places where there would be an expectation of privacy) and the photographer owns the copyright. They can sell or display the image (inc publishing in a newspaper) without the subjects permission. If the subject uses the image without the copyright holders permission that's infringement. If this goes to court the photographer will win.

Motti Bembaron's picture

I admit I do not know the law, even in Canada, but I doubt photographers have so much leniency when it comes to photograph people without their permission. And it is nothing to do of how I feel about it, it makes sense. I seriously doubt the photographers will win, maybe in the US but not in many other places.

I assume you are a photographer so you might want it to be the reality but there is such thing as privacy and it has to be respected. If someone hires the photographer to take their photos then the law says that the photographer owns the rights and can sell or give it to his/her client. But it is not the same if I take a photo of you and post it without your permission.

Again, I do not know the law but I would assume it is very different outside the US. The case of the (selfy) monkey business shows how out of touch US laws and courts are.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Here is how it works in Canada. Much more logical.
http://humanrights.findlaw.ca/article/when-can-i-take-pictures-in-public/