Photographers and Models Scrapping Again Over Usage Rights

It’s happened again: a photographer is battling publicly with a glamorous model over usage rights.

In the latest round, photographer Dimitri Halkidis plans to sue former Playboy Playmate (and current reality show star) Shannon Tweed, who included pictures of herself taken by Halkidis in her 2006 biography without compensating him.

“I am shocked,” Halkidis said of Tweed’s oversight.

He shouldn’t be. Lately it seems that models and starlets believe that, simply by virtue of being in the picture, they control the image rights.

For example:

  • Last year, Jessica Alba threatened to sue Playboy after the publication of an Alba bikini shot without her permission — despite Playboy having all necessary clearances. She dropped the suit only after Hugh Hefner personally apologized for causing Alba “distress.”
  • Also last year, model Veronica Varekova protested when Corbis sold lads mag Maxim a lingerie pic of her from a British GQ photo set. She claimed the reuse was “unlawful.” Again, the threats went nowhere.
  • Most recently, Australian tourism spokesmodel Lara Bingle has become embroiled in two legal disputes over the use of her image — bikini pictures in the racy Zoo Weekly and nude photos in the German GQ. In both instances, her claims appear shaky at best.

Models, take note: if you want to control the use of your images, just being in the picture is not enough. It has to be in the contract.

[tags]usage rights, model releases, Shannon Tweed, Jessica Alba, Lara Bingle, Veronica Varekova, Playboy[/tags]

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