There seems to be endless lawsuits between celebrities and photographers at the moment. Most rulings seems to fall in the photographer’s favor, however, model Gigi Hadid is challenging the case against her by claiming the image was “fair use” because she contributed to it by smiling.
Xclusive-Lee, Inc. filed a suit against her after the 24-year-old model posted a photo of herself on Instagram which they own the rights to. Now, Hadid has asked the court to throw the case out.
Her defense is that she didn’t in fact violate the copyright of the photographer due to the fact she “posed for the camera and thus herself contributed many of the elements that the copyright law seeks to protect.” She believes her actions make her co-author of the photo, and thus, she has a legal right to use it however she wishes. What’s more, she is claiming that her crop of the image when posting it online means she contributed to the image – her contribution being that the tighter crop meant her followers would be more likely to focus on her smile, rather than anything the composition the photographer’s original crop directed attention to.
Xclusive have now hit back, dry attention to the four principal factors that determine fair use, claiming Hadid failed to meet all of them. They rubbished her co-author claims as “preposterous”, saying “[She can’t take credit] just because she noticed the photographer and smiled at the moment the photographer chose to snap the shutter.” is preposterous.”
“[Hadid is] as much a joint copyright holder in the photograph as the subject of a biography is joint copyright holder to the words used by the author to describe her life.”
But the agency didn’t stop there. They also criticized her knowledge of copyrights and how they work:
“If Hadid’s approach to the issue of an implied license were adopted, the copyrights of the majority of the world’s authors would be obliterated because the only requirement for an implied license would be for the subject of a work of original art would be to claim (not very convincingly) that she winked, smiled, nodded, or otherwise communicated her acceptance to the author.”
Xclusive are calling for the motion to dismiss, and allow the copyright infringement case to move forward. The case continues.
Lead image: "20181007-105313-gigi-hadid-reebok-be-more-human-campaign-990x557" by yzapoo, licensed under CC CC0 1.0