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Gigi Hadid Sued for Posting Instagram Pictures of Herself

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on September 14, 2017 11:15 AM

That might be you in the pic, but do you have the right to post it? That's the gist of a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by photographer Peter Cepeda against model Gigi Hadid. Cepeda is claiming he has exclusive rights to a photo Hadid posted on her Instagram and Twitter accounts last summer.

The shot required "great technical skill and careful timing" according to Cepeda's complaint, but he wasn't credited with the pic and "numerous prominent, commercial, online publications copied and posted the Copyrighted Photograph, crediting Hadid or Instagram." So whose photo is it?

Infringement, Information, and Integrity

The photo at issue shows the back of Hadid, wearing hair curlers and a jacket bearing the Adidas trefoil logo and "Hadidas" underneath. Cepeda claims he licensed the photo to The Daily Mail and TMZ, but not to Hadid, and his lawsuit has an additional twist on top of the standard copyright claims, according to the Fashion Law:

Additionally, he states that not only did Hadid use the photo without authorization, she -- or her modeling agency, IMG (which is also named in the lawsuit) -- posted it without including the copyright watermark and Mr. Cepeda's photo credit. This further runs afoul of federal law, as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") makes it illegal to "violate the integrity of copyright management information," such as removing or altering the copyright-identifying information on a photo.

Federal copyright law does make it illegal to "intentionally remove or alter any copyright management information" without the copyright owner's permission.

Take Down, Give Up

Cepeda is also suing Hadid's modeling agency, IMG Models, and is demanding that the photo be removed from Hadid's social media accounts while seeking actual damages and any profits Hadid or IMG gained from the shot.

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