Last month, model Gigi Hadid found herself part of a lawsuit in which she claimed her use of a paparazzi image was fair as she “contributed to it by smiling.” It seemed ridiculous and as if she didn’t have a chance, but her legal team have managed to swing the trial in her favor, getting the case dismissed. Here’s how they did it.
Most people thought there was no chance of Hadid coming up trumps in this dispute. After all, trying to claim copyright of an image for smiling in it hardly seemed to carry much legal weight. However, her lawyers have been successful in getting the case thrown out.
Copyright attorney Leonard French has taken to YouTube to release a video in which he reads through the decision made by US District Court Judge Pamela K. Chen. Thankfully, Hadid didn’t win the case because the judge sided with her claims that she was co-author because the smiled. Nor did she succeed because of her other claim that she was allowed to post the picture because she had cropped it. It was in fact thrown out due to the fact the photographer’s agency Xclusive-Lee, Inc. hadn’t secured copyright for the image at the time the complaint was filed. The copyright was, in fact, still pending approval.
The Supreme Court made the decision, and that now means Xclusive won’t simply be able to continue the case once the image copyright is approved. They’ll have to start over, re-filing, and paying all the consequential legal fees if they want to pursue Hadid and her team.
The case serves as a reminder for photographers and agencies to register a photo’s copyright before deciding to pursue a copyright claim in a court of law.
See the full video for the details.
Lead image: "20181007-105313-gigi-hadid-reebok-be-more-human-campaign-990x557" by yzapoo, licensed under CC CC0 1.0