As social media has increased in popularity, users have started to face tricky questions about privacy and who really owns the content they post. It can be even more of a headache for those in the public eye. Recently, Gigi Hadid defeated a copyright lawsuit against her—and it’s a victory for celeb privacy against the paparazzi.
People.com reports that in October 2018, Hadid shared a paparazzi picture of herself to Instagram. The company responsible for the photo, Xclusive-Lee, Inc., then sued the model in January, claiming that she had violated copyright rules by posting the shot. Hadid has since removed the picture from her Instagram account.
However, yesterday, July 18th, Hadid emerged victorious in the case. According to The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen granted the model’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit because Xclusive had not obtained copyright registration for the photo in question before they sued. Chen also ruled that Xclusive cannot sue again once they complete copyright registration for the picture.
As People.com notes, in its lawsuit, Xclusive had requested both damages and profits earned from the photo. The company argued that even though Hadid had deleted the picture, 1.6 million people liked or commented on it while it was still up.
Hadid made her thoughts on the subject known after she deleted the picture. In a lengthy Instagram post, she argued that, almost always, paparazzi photos are intrusive. She recounted photographers “stalking” her to get pictures, and she wrote that the “mental/emotional toll” of being in the public eye 24/7 isn’t talked about enough. She also called it “absurd” that she was being sued for sharing the photo because she didn’t know who took it.
Of course, if you share a picture taken by a photographer, you should still give them credit. But Hadid’s now-dismissed lawsuit has important implications for how people—especially public figures—navigate social media. We’re glad that Hadid won this case because, after all, everyone deserves the right to privacy and to pictures of themselves.