Model Gigi Hadid believes she should be able to post paparazzi pictures on her Instagram account because her participation in their photos from posing to choosing her outfit invalidates a photographer’s ownership claims.
In a copyright infringement lawsuit filed in January this year, an agency, Xclusive-Lee, alleges that Hadid posted one of its images to her Instagram, which it claims violates the company’s copyright. In a motion to dismiss filed earlier this month, as well as a supporting memorandum, Hadid’s legal team asserts that her posting the image constituted fair use because she contributed to the photo in the form of a smile and her outfit.
The memorandum of support says Hadid didn’t infringe on any copyright “because Ms. Hadid posed for the camera and thus herself contributed many of the elements that the copyright law seeks to protect.” She, the memorandum states, creative directed the photograph, not the photographer who captured her on the streets of New York City. (The photo has since been deleted from Hadid’s Instagram, but it shows Hadid standing on a street smiling in a denim outfit.)
“The minute I create something, I have copyrights,” Tim Hwang, lawyer and director of Harvard and MIT’s Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative, explained to The Verge’s Why’d You Push That Button podcast. “I have rights over that content, and so really anything I create, if it is taken by someone else without my permission and copied and shared, I do theoretically have the right under the law to get it taken down, to control it, to protect and constrain that content.”
Hadid’s team claims that she isn’t making money off her Instagram post or deriving Xclusive of profits. “Ms. Hadid merely reposted the photograph to her Instagram page and made no effort to commercially exploit it,” the team writes. “Her reposting thus reflected a personal purpose different than the photographer’s purpose in taking the photograph, which was to commercially exploit Ms. Hadid’s popularity.”