Photographer sues model Gigi Hadid over unpermitted instagram post

Sep 13, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photographer sues model Gigi Hadid over unpermitted instagram post

Sep 13, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Famous model Gigi Hadid is being sued for copyright infringement. Last week, Photographer Peter Cepeda filed a lawsuit against her because she posted his photo of her on Instagram without his permission.  She allegedly ripped the photo from a news outlet, removed the credit byline, and posted the photo to her profile. By doing this, she violated the copyright law, so Cepeda and his agency INF decided to file a lawsuit.

As FStoppers reports, Cepeda snapped a photo last summer, when he noticed Hadid’s interesting jacket reading “Hadidas.” The photo was then sold to various publications around the world, but INF claims to be the sole owner of the copyright. Therefore, they’re suing Hadid for violating the copyright law, since she removed the credits. Cepeda stated that he licensed the photo to Daily Mail and TMZ, but not to the model herself. Reportedly, he’s reached her team several times, but his demands were rejected.

Hadid posted the photo in July 2016, and it’s still on her Instagram page, with over 1.2 million likes. According to the lawsuit, Hadid’s post caused that “numerous prominent, commercial, online publications copied and posted the copyrighted photograph, crediting Hadid or Instagram.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BHxRY0rjUj5/

This case is similar to the one of Khloe Kardashian several months ago. She also ripped the photo of herself from Daily Mail, removed the copyright information, and posted it on Instagram. As a result, she was sued by the photo agency.

On the one hand, I’m not really a fan of paparazzi (to put it mildly). But on the other, they still have the right to protect their photos and own the rights to them, no matter who’s in the images. So, it’s not easy for me to pick sides here. What do you think?

[via FStoppers, Hello; cover image credits (right): The Door]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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44 responses to “Photographer sues model Gigi Hadid over unpermitted instagram post”

  1. Gigi Avatar
    Gigi

    What’s the problem with paparazzi when they act in the normal lines ? I mean not breaking into someones home to snap a photo. When they are in public, they can photograph them “stars” as much as they want, and they too own copyrights. Just because you think you some “superstar” and can rip off people, doesn’t mean you’re gonna get away with it. I will sue her ’til she pays me enough money so she will learn not to do it anymore!!!

  2. Lis Thomsen Avatar
    Lis Thomsen

    Difficult one. He takes a picture without her consent in order to make money out of it. She then takes it back, without commercial intent. If he paid her a model fee, there would be no issue, and what does Adidas have to say?

    1. Chris Cameron Avatar
      Chris Cameron

      He didn’t break the law, the photo was taken in a public place and only licensed for editorial use (no MR required). She broke the law by publishing a photo she didn’t own without the consent of the copyright holder. Adidas could probably sue her too.

    2. Harry Cal Avatar
      Harry Cal

      You are aware of how much money you can make on insta if you have millions of followers?

    3. Lis Thomsen Avatar
      Lis Thomsen

      Yes, if you show a product, she’s not in this shot. But maybe Adidas have other ideas?

    4. Scott Lightner Avatar
      Scott Lightner

      Isn’t she on a hired set here?
      What is the value of her IG account? Why operate it?

    5. Brian Fergusson Avatar
      Brian Fergusson

      Irrelevant, the photographer owns the copyright unless he’s signed away some of his rights – but it certainly doesn’t sound like that. Don’t confuse legal and moral / ethical issues.

    6. Lis Thomsen Avatar
      Lis Thomsen

      He has, but does he have the right to sell the picture without her consent? Did she sign a release?

  3. JZ Aamir Avatar
    JZ Aamir

    This looks like a candid shot and if that’s the case then the photographer shot the photo without Hadid’s intention. There’s no agreement nor you can claim copyright. That’s what I think.

    1. Adam Santino Avatar
      Adam Santino

      Definitely. If this was a shoot and she removed credit, I might be more on his side. But why is it okay for him to make his money off of her without her consent, but not okay for her to post that same picture?

      1. catlett Avatar
        catlett

        The legal definition of copyright and usage. She doesn’t own it, doesn’t have the owner’s consent to use it.

    2. Chris Cameron Avatar
      Chris Cameron

      He didn’t break the law, the photo was taken in a public place and only licensed for editorial use (no MR required). She broke the law by publishing a photo she didn’t own without the consent of the copyright holder.

    3. JZ Aamir Avatar
      JZ Aamir

      Adam Santino Exactly my thoughts!

    4. catlett Avatar
      catlett

      What one thinks doesn’t change the law. The photographer owns the copyright unless they were working for hire. The question is publishing rights. More on the model release here: https://improvephotography.com/48423/model-release/

    5. Scott Lightner Avatar
      Scott Lightner

      Looks like a shot on his set. Why was she on his set?
      Was she paid to be there? Last time I hired a model, consent came with the hire.

      Beyond that, it’s ALL about marketing, products, consumption. But not much other value here.

    6. Brian Fergusson Avatar
      Brian Fergusson

      Irrelevant, the photographer owns the copyright. Don’t confuse legal and moral / ethical issues.

      1. JustChristoph Avatar
        JustChristoph

        Actually there IS an ethical issue at stake here. If we cannot take a photo in the public realm and automatically own the rights to our own work – in line with all other areas of IPR – then most photographers’ might as well give away their cameras.

        1. Josh Harney Avatar
          Josh Harney

          Or rethink their business models.

    7. Ian McArthur Avatar
      Ian McArthur

      Spot on Brian.

    8. Lis Thomsen Avatar
      Lis Thomsen

      Scott Lightner It wasn’t his set, he’s a paparazzi

    9. Hayden Gullins Avatar
      Hayden Gullins

      Idk in festival photography it’s all candid I still retain rights to my photos tho

  4. Kryn Sporry Avatar
    Kryn Sporry

    Curious, did he have s model release?

    1. Brian Fergusson Avatar
      Brian Fergusson

      Relevancy? The only time that would come into play would be where she had an expectation of privacy and he violated it – in which case she’d be suing the photographer. The photographer still owns the copyright, regardless of circumstances – though she could sue to have the images destroyed if she successfully argued invasion of privacy. The fact she’s ripped off the image and posted it tells me that’s not at issue here.

  5. Rachael Avatar
    Rachael

    If the photo was taken in a public place, then he doesn’t need a model release. In Canada, the person who presses the shutter has full rights and as long as a person wasn’t photographed on private property where there is an expectation of privacy, then no model release is required.

    1. Jeff Greene Avatar
      Jeff Greene

      …and a model release is not required for non-commercial use.

      1. Rachael Avatar
        Rachael

        And, although I’m less sure on this point, I believe that if the subjects face isn’t shown, even if used commercially, a model release isn’t required.

      2. Josh Harney Avatar
        Josh Harney

        He sold it. That is commercial use.

  6. Gary Hurdman Avatar
    Gary Hurdman

    It’s a case of mutual dependency.

    He won’t make money out of that shot unless it has a celebrity in it.

    She needs photography for social media promotion.

    I think he should take it as is. They need each other.

    Provided she doesn’t sell the image, all is good.

    Or is that too pragmatic?

    1. Brian Fergusson Avatar
      Brian Fergusson

      Mutual dependency, yes. The harsh reality is that she’s paid to model and part of her increasing her ‘brand value’ is what she also does outside the studio. None of that gives her the unfettered right to steal the copyrighted works of the photographer.

    2. Gary Hurdman Avatar
      Gary Hurdman

      I think as photographers we can lose track of the bigger picture over ownership and use of our images.

      He was never going to sell that image to the model.

      Our relationship with models shouldn’t be confrontational, we collaborate.

      I think that’s been lost here.

  7. Bruno Pezzimenti Avatar
    Bruno Pezzimenti

    If you deliberately remove the copyright information like she did. She deserves to be sued.

  8. loren greyvenstein Avatar
    loren greyvenstein

    I say everyone should get over themselves, the reporter should be grateful she likes his work and is using her pic maybe put a comment nice pic I see you like my work. Be proud be humble why is everyone so angry and pathetic these days *eyes rolling

  9. Rick Avatar
    Rick

    I would think Adidas would also be taking offense regarding her defiling their trademark.

  10. Brian Fergusson Avatar
    Brian Fergusson

    Copyright law varies by jurisdiction. In Canada the photographer owns the image, regardless of whether it’s marked with a copyright notice – and no registration is required. If the image was taken in a public place with no expectation of privacy a model release is not required.

    Summary: the image belongs to the photographer and the law backs that up. Hadid and her advisors would be wise to settle.

    1. Scott Lightner Avatar
      Scott Lightner

      In the US there is no need to mark an image with ©, however doing so, then having it removed is an exhibit of intent to violate copyrights.

  11. Erin Marie Miller Avatar
    Erin Marie Miller

    I think removing the photo credits was a pretty disrespectful move on her part. At the same time, he could’ve asked for the credits to be mentioned and then sued if she still refused. She makes a living off her image, and he makes a living off his images — as a model who works with photographers often, she understands that and should be respectful and leave photo credits intact.

    1. Brian Fergusson Avatar
      Brian Fergusson

      Agreed – models should understand this better than most – that’s how they make their living. They get paid to pose, and photographers earn their income by making images. She’s ripping off his work. Period.

  12. Erin Marie Miller Avatar
    Erin Marie Miller

    It’s a press photo for editorial use. Totally different set of laws regarding use by the photographer. Regardless, she posted it and the copyright is his.

  13. Paige McCrossen Avatar
    Paige McCrossen

    He took a picture without her permission so he’s in the wrong too. Personally I get agreements signed from the person with the copyright laws on them and my right to use them and theirs. But that’s when they know the photo is going to be taken of them. So Gigi is in every right to use that photo as she wasn’t asked permission and didn’t sign any model release form etc. It’s a tricky one though.

  14. Jeff Greene Avatar
    Jeff Greene

    Real easy for me to pick sides.
    Peter Cepeda owns the copyright, Gigi Hadid does not.
    If Cepeda has registered the copyright and can demonstrate lost licensing revenue, he has a good case for a lawsuit.

    1. Josh Harney Avatar
      Josh Harney

      That’s the legal reality, true. Is it the moral reality?

  15. Josh Harney Avatar
    Josh Harney

    It’s a photo of her. As far as I’m concerned, he needs her permission to use it. Not the other way around, whatever the law says.

  16. pincherio Avatar
    pincherio

    So how is it okay for him to steal her image then turn around and sue her for stealing his image of her? This isn’t a case of a photographer getting a model to sign a release then suing her for stealing that image. This photographer took her picture without her permission, then made money out of it. I hope the law rules in favor of Hadid. I have no issue with paparazzi taking pictures of celebrities and selling them but when they go around suing the celebrities they harass, I think that’s taking it too far.