7 September 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Models sue Vogue over ‘pervasive’ image misuse

An alliance of 43 models is suing the publisher of Vogue and online fashion retailer Moda Operandi for using their images in promotional materials without their permission.

In the complaint, filed on Friday, September 4, at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, the models accused publisher Condé Nast and Moda Operandi of violating New York civil law and the federal Lanham Act.

Condé Nast is among the world’s biggest media publishers, owning brands including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Pitchfork, GQ, and The New Yorker.

According to the suit, Condé Nast and Moda Operandi “intentionally traded on [the] plaintiffs’ fame and notoriety” to promote fashion products.

The images included photographs of the models backstage at fashion shows, as well as on the runway.

Moda Operandi has also used the images on its own website, as well as in advertisements published in Vogue.

The defendants have failed to provide any compensation for the alleged misuse of the models’ image rights, the complaint added.

The plaintiffs include Russian model Odette Pavlova, who has appeared in Dazed and international editions of Vogue, and Victoria’s Secret model Alanna Addington.

WIPR has previously reported on the challenges of protecting image rights in the fashion industry, especially in the context of social media.

Nicole Ocran, who runs The Noteworthy fashion blog, told WIPR at the time that it was common for influencers and bloggers to find their image used in brands’ promotional materials without permission.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensation as well as an injunction barring Vogue and Moda Operandi from continuing to use their image without permission.

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