Kate Upton Furious at Victoria's Secret for Using Old Photo

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on May 29, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Model Kate Upton is none too pleased that old photos of her are featured in a new Victoria’s Secret catalogue after they dissed her look in the past as “too obvious.” The reprised Kate Upton Victoria’s Secret photos were used without the 20-year-old model’s permission, The New York Post reports.

But does Kate Upton have any legal rights over the Victoria’s Secret photos?

A source close to Upton claims "The pictures are from 2011. Kate's not currently contracted to work with Victoria's Secret, and they didn't contact her before they used these images," The Post reports.

Though Upton was never an Angel, she modeled pajamas for Victoria's Secret back in 2011, when she was about 18 -- long before her new-found fame.

But after a Victoria's Secret model booker told The New York Times, "We would never never use Kate ... She's like a footballer's wife, with the too-blond hair and that kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy," it's no surprise that Upton is miffed about her appearance in their new catalog.

She is probably especially upset because Victoria's Secret stands to benefit from her recent meteoric rise. Upton's popularity has skyrocketed, with the last year culminating in her landing on the covers of both Vogue and Sports Illustrated.

The unfortunate reality for Upton, however, is that she probably signed away all of her rights to the photos.

Depending on the jurisdiction, you usually can't use someone else's likeness for a commercial purpose without that person's permission. The right to your likeness is distinct from copyright. To obtain permission, the photo subject signs a model release which grants the copyright owner the right to use the model's likeness.

In all likelihood, Kate Upton signed a Victoria's Secret model release back when she wasn't really famous. Unless there were special contract terms stating a duration the release was good for, they're within their rights to try to benefit from Upton's new fame by using her likeness in the old photo, without needing her permission.

Chances are, she'll just have to shed a single delicate, yet photogenic tear, and move on.

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