29 January 2019Copyright

Gigi Hadid named in copyright suit for reposting image of herself on Instagram

Gigi Hadid is at the centre of a copyright infringement suit for allegedly posting a copyright-protected photograph of herself to her Instagram account.

The complaint was filed by New York-based company Xclusive Lee Inc, yesterday January 28, at the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Xclusive claimed that Hadid’s posting of the image was a “willful and intentional” breach of the law.

The image in dispute is named “Gigi Hadid on October 11, 2018”, which Xclusive said was taken of the model by one of its photographers in New York city.

Xclusive said the image was posted by Hadid to her Instagram account “without licence or permission” on October 12, 2018. According to evidence submitted by Xclusive, the image amassed 1.6 million likes before it was deleted by the model.

The company said Hadid is “personally responsible” for her Instagram, and had “first-hand knowledge that copying and posting photographs” of herself to social media infringed copyright law.

It cited a previous copyright infringement suit, the facts of which Xclusive said were “nearly identical” to the facts of its complaint.

In 2017, photographer Peter Cepeda took legal action against Hadid for posting a photograph he took of her in New York to her Instagram and Twitter accounts without a licence.

Xclusive further alleged that Hadid’s Instagram account currently has “at least 50 examples of uncredited photographs” of Hadid in public or on the runway. The company said “most, if not all” of these images were posted without a licence from the copyright holder.

While the complaint has only just been filed, Hadid was aware of Xclusive’s intention to take legal action against her since October.

Taking to her Instagram on October 18, 2018, Hadid criticised Xclusive for “legally pursuing” her.

In a lengthy post, she said she had no way of knowing which of the “15+ photographers outside” on that day took the photograph, and if the person “had just commented on my photo I would have been happy to tag and give credit”.

She added: “for someone to sue me for a photo I found on Twitter (with no photographer’s name on the image) … is absurd.”

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