“The Verge has a write-up on model Gigi Hadid’s current legal battles with the dismissive headline, “Gigi Hadid wants to rewrite copyright law around her Instagram account.” And while that’s technically accurate, it’s not really fair to the underlying argument Hadid and her lawyers —- led by John Quinn of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP —- are making, which is that America’s intellectual property laws were woefully unsuited to the modern world, and something needs to change fast.
This is a legal regime that supercharges patent and copyright trolls and while every legal observer bemoans the trolling culture, few are willing to stand up and demand concrete legal changes to fix it. Apparently, we need to rely on Gigi Hadid to handle that for us which — no offense to Gigi — should really embarrass every academic, jurist, and legislator.
At issue is an Instagram photo Hadid posted of herself. One would think that posting pictures of yourself is entirely fair game (or fair use as the case may be) because this is basically the language of all online communication these days. But because Hadid is a celebrity instead of your cousin, she got a shakedown request from an agency demanding payment for infringing the copyright, claiming — without much evidence — that it’s now the owner of the copyright of the paparazzo who took the picture.”
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