Model Gigi Hadid Claims Fair Use of Photographer's Image as She Contributed to It by Smiling

Model Gigi Hadid Claims Fair Use of Photographer's Image as She Contributed to It by Smiling

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.

The image at the centre of the court case.

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 

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47 Comments

Previous comments

The only ones winning in the Sue for everything world is the lawyers. Lawyers just want to make everything last for as long as possible that way they get more money.

She should honestly be allowed to post it on IG if she credits the photographer or other source.

That she can't is f-ing stupid.

Dave Dundas's picture

That's not what happened though. Keep up please, you're describing something completely different.

If anything she should have credited the photographer. But to be honest this photographer just sounds like a fucking leech. It makes me sick to think people can take photos of people without their permission and then profit off of them, but then turn around and get upset that the person they took the image of actually used the image themselves. I'm sorry and this may be an unpopular opinion, but unless a contract is signed that officially states the photographer or agency in charge of the shoot has full ownership of the images, copyright law should be changed to give the subject 50% ownership of their image. Because lets be honest, had she not been in that image and it was simply a nicely composed image of a random person, then probably nobody would have cared about the photo.

It's photographers like these guys who give us all a bad name and make people who are in the public eye scared of working with photographers. I used to travel the world working with multiple famous musicians as their videographer and it would always take me a little while to convince them that I wasn't one of these leechy kind of people who was going to just try and profit off of them in any way possible.

Fuck leech photographers.

Alex Herbert's picture

So by that rationale if you're a street photographer who captures a scene with, lets say 15 people in it. You should have to split the proceeds you've made from selling the photograph with all of them?

If you didn't take the photo, or pay, or arrange to have it taken then you have no rights over it. She could have requested permission before posting it, but didn't. Who knows, he may have let her use it.

She's famous. Your random 15 people are, presumably, not.

Alex Herbert's picture

Not sure what that's got to do with anything. If that image is striking because of the subjects in it, and I'm an award winning street photographer who sells that image for £100,000 then those non-famous people in the image deserve just as much of a cut as the 'famous' person in the image in question... NOT A BEAN! Because they did not hire or commission the photographer to take the photo.

Absolutely! But, on the other hand, if you're NOT an award winning street photographer and the image is striking, not because of the composition but because of a particular, famous person...

I'm just saying there's a different reason for the fame of "Afghan girl" vs the photo of Marilyn Monroe over the subway grate. While Sharbat Gula had striking eyes, a number of young women could have stood in for that photo. Without Marilyn Monroe, the latter would have been nothing.

Random Guy- When you were travelling the world with multiple famous musicians did you retain 50% of the copyright or 0% (work for hire) or 100%. I know it is different with videographers so that's why I ask.

Rashad Hurani's picture

Stupid, cheap photographer! go find yourself a job rather than embezzling others. I'm sick of cheap people.

People, you shouldn't support this behavior, it gives all photographers a bad name

And you artists, stop depicting the prophet Muhammad.

Rashad Hurani's picture

Why? depict the prophet as much as you please...until your racism explodes in your behind

Golly, Rashad. Golly gee whillikers.

They asked me in the grocery store one time "How do you want to pay for this?"

I said "With my smile."

They just smiled back at me and I ponied up some greenbacks.

Alex Herbert's picture

I see what they did there, very clever. Matched your smile with an equally valuable smile, leaving you to foot the bill for the groceries... SLICK!

Yep, outsmarted again.

Dennis Williams's picture

I still don't understand why someone settled for shooting that face on day one. It is the celebrity 'models" causing the decline of fashion magazines- that and the progressive editorial slant on everything.