Months after Gigi Hadid faced a copyright infringement lawsuit for posting a paparazzi photo without permission, a federal court has granted the model’s motion to dismiss the case.
According to documents obtained by PEOPLE, U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen ruled that Xclusive-Lee Inc., an independent photo agency company that owned the photo of Hadid, could not sue for direct copyright infringement because it failed to demonstrate that “the defendant has actually copied the plaintiff’s work; and the copying is illegal because a substantial similarity exists between the defendant’s work and the protectable elements of the plaintiff’s work.”
John Quinn, the attorney representing Hadid in the case, said in a statement to PEOPLE: “We are pleased that the Court granted our motion to dismiss this meritless case. The Court’s decision recognized this case for what it was — an effort to extract a settlement from Ms. Hadid with little regard for the basic requirements of copyright law.”
In the case, which was submitted in federal court in January 2019, Xclusive sued Hadid for sharing an October 2018 photo on Instagram without the photographer’s permission, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
The documents allege that approximately 1.6 million people commented on or liked the photo within the first four days after Hadid posted it, so the company was seeking damages for copyright infringement, as well as any profits derived from the image.
Hadid removed Xclusive’s photo from her Instagram page shortly after sharing it. But the suit also alleged that that wasn’t the only instance the model has posted unlicensed images. “As of the date of this filing, Hadid’s Instagram account includes at least fifty examples of uncredited photographs of Hadid in public, at press events, or on the runway,” the documents read.
Xclusive claims Hadid knew she was doing wrong when she posted the uncredited photo and even referenced a similar copyright lawsuit she was involved in. In 2017, photographer Peter Cepeda took a photo of the model, which she later posted on Instagram without his permission. He filed a lawsuit against her the following September and it was later settled outside of court.
Days after removing the photo, Hadid clapped back by posting a lengthy Instagram rant that addressed the fact that she (and other celebrities) feel like their privacy is invaded by aggressive paparazzi whenever they leave the house.
“Yesterday I heard from my management that I am being ‘legally pursued’ for my last (now deleted) Instagram post. The photo is by a Paparazzi & is of me on the street outside an event last week. I posed/smiled for the photo because I understand that this is part of my job, this was an appropriate situation for ‘the press’ to attend, and also that this is how paparazzi make a living,” Hadid wrote.
“Most circumstances are not this way, i.e. leaving my apartment, or anytime I feel that my privacy is being unreasonably intruded upon, doing everyday things feel harder to face… these people make money off of us everyday, LEGALLY stalking us day in and day out- for nothing special- for us to walk six feet to a car and six feet into a work building. They drive dangerously close and extremely recklessly; they put the general public in danger in pursuit of a photo,” the supermodel continued.
Hadid also noted that she and many friends have gotten into car accidents as a result of reckless photographers, and have dealt with the emotional toll of constantly being followed.
“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,” Hadid added. “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.”