California Intellectual Property Blog


Gigi Hadid Sued for Posting a Photo on Instagram

Los Angeles – Supermodel Gigi Hadid has been sued for copyright infringement for posting a photo of herself on Instagram. The lawsuit involves a photo that was taken by the paparazzi. The complaint states that Hadid used the photo without permission of the owner Xclusive-Lee, Inc.

Thus far Hadid is fighting the case. Her copyright attorney states that the claim is meritless and should be thrown out due to fair use. Thus they are planning a motion to dismiss.

Xclusive-Lee points out that Hadid, who has since deleted the photo in question, had prior knowledge that copying and posting photos of herself without permission of the photographer constitutes copyright infringement. This is because this is not the first time that Hadid copied and posted a photo of herself to her Instagram account. Although the previous case was settled before the discovery stage of the litigation, in this instance Xclusive-Lee might not be going away so easily.

In her defense, Hadid is claiming that use of the photo is fair use and thus not a violation of copyright law. Through analyzing the four prongs of the copyright fair use test, Hadid can make the claim that each element is in her favor.

The copyright fair use elements begin with the purpose and character of the use, and because the supermodel did not use the photo for commercial purposes, this element favors fair use. Next to consider is the nature of the copyrighted work. The photo was taken in public rather than a studio setting, which again weighs toward fair use. Third, the test estimates the amount and substantiality of the portion used of the work. For this element Hadid is claiming that the photo is of her and that she smiled for it which is a large portion of the work. Finally, the test evaluates the effect of the use on the market for the work. As for this element, Hadid is claiming that her Instagram posting did not deprive the company of revenue, much less a significant amount of revenue.

The case could have long standing repercussions in determining the extent that a person photographed in public can use a photo, specifically celebrities posting photos on social media.


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