Supermodel Gigi Hadid got once again in trouble with copyright laws, posting pictures taken at various events on her Instagram account. Yet media outlets publish hundreds of news pieces every day, illustrated by photos from Instagram accounts of stars.
Why is one activity permitted and the other not?
The answer to this question lies in copyright – there are different uses in the legal sense, despite the fact that the photograph is the same.
Linking is allowed
Media publications use photos published on Instagram in articles, but technically they are links. Clicking on a photo or user account takes the reader to the Instagram account in question. It is a reference to a previously published work that does not create a new business model.
In this case, you do not need to ask the copyright holders of the photo for permission. It is important here that the linker does not make a copy of the photos or exercise control over what is published. If the publisher of the photo decides to start Instagram hiatus and delete all the photos, the media publication will no longer have the photo with the article.
If a media publication makes a copy of a photo published on Instagram (i.e. reproduces) and publishes it in a newspaper or on the web, the consent of the copyright holder of the photo must be obtained.
However, linking is not without limits, in particular, the legality of the content being linked is important. The courts have so far taken the position that the linker does not have to check the lawfulness of the publication of the linked content, but upon receipt of the respective notice, the linker is obliged to remove the link.
Permission is also required to use pictures of yourself
If you wish to use photos of yourself on a personal social media account, you must obtain the consent of the copyright holder of the photos. Permission is required regardless of whether the photo depicts you, strangers, or cats.
This obligation even applies to supermodels. However, it is allowed to link to photos published on media platforms. It is important here that the linking is technically done through the “Share” and not made available to the public using the “Copy image” or “Save image as” function.