Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 May 2019

Gigi Hadid slapped with lawsuit for using paparazzi image on her Instagram account

The model is being sued for copyright infringement over a now-deleted photo

Model Gigi Hadid presents a creation during a Missoni fashion show.  Courtesy AFP / Andreas SOLARO
Model Gigi Hadid presents a creation during a Missoni fashion show.  Courtesy AFP / Andreas SOLARO

Just months ago, Gigi Hadid lamented the paparazzi culture after being threatened with legal action by a photographer – and now that lawsuit has landed.

The half-Palestinian model is being sued for copyright infringement after posting a paparazzi image of herself to her Instagram account in October 2018.

Hadid, 23, deleted the post in question after being contacted by photo agency Xclusive, but the business is now seeking an injunction, statutory damages and any profits made from the use of the image on the model's social media page.

In a case submitted in federal court in New York on Monday, Xclusive claims approximately 1.6 million people commented on or liked the photo within four days, People reports.

Court documents allege that Hadid uploaded the copyrighted image "without licence or permission", violating the agency's intellectual property rights. The lawsuit also claims that the catwalk star's use of the image was "willful and intentional", Forbes reports, as she was aware of the legal ramifications of using photographers' shots without permission.

Hadid has previously been been the defendant in a copyright infringement lawsuit, filed by photographer Peter Cepeda in 2017. The case was settled outside of court.

Xclusive's lawsuit claims that Hadid has used many images on her Instagram account without permission.

“As of the date of this filing, Hadid’s Instagram account includes at least 50 examples of uncredited photographs of Hadid in public, at press events, or on the runway,” court documents read,

according to Forbes.

The model first struck out at the issue last year, after she was told she was being "legally pursued" over the image.

"These people make money off of us everyday, legally stalking us day in and day out," Hadid said of the paparazzi in a lengthy Instagram post. "They drive dangerously close and extremely recklessly; they put the general public in danger in pursuit of a photo."

The model added that she had originally found the image on Twitter, and “had no way of knowing which of the 15+ photographers outside that day took these exact photos”.

“If the person had just commented on my photo I would have been happy to tag and give you credit,” she added. “To the paparazzi, I understand that this is how you make your living, and I respect that this is something I must accept with my job. But there is a line. We are human beings, and sometimes it takes a lot of courage to engage with you because of the resentment I feel for the negative parts of these experiences.”

Hadid is not the first celebrity to find herself facing legal action after re-purposing a paparazzi image; Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson and Khloe Kardashian have all been sued for using photographers' snaps on social media.

“The photographer owns the copyright to the photograph; it doesn’t matter who is in it,” entertainment lawyer Bryan Sullivan told BuzzFeed in December. “The subject of the photo doesn’t have any rights to the picture as long as it was taken in a public place.”

Updated: January 30, 2019 12:37 PM

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