Persons can be powerful marketing tools who can command millions of dollars in revenue. We are talking of celebrities and influencers such as Ariana Grande selling and endorsing products.
Recently, two litigation cases have been reported about the unappropriated use of a person’s rights and likeness. The singer and performer Ariana Grande is suing Forever 21 for the use of a lookalike young woman to promote the giant retailer’s brands and, in a different case, a female news anchor is suing Facebook, Reddit and other internet hosts for the use of her photograph to promote products.
The cases, though similar, are vastly different in the intellectual property field.
Forever 21 used a model who looks like Ariana Grande and is wearing outfits and accessories similar to the ones the singer wears in a series of photoshoots to promote the retailer’s products.
“Arianna’s lawyers can argue that the photos in the marketing campaign are made with the clear intention of confusing the public about her endorsement and that the consumer recognizes such images as representative of Ariana Grande”, said intellectual property attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta.
However, Ariana’s counsel may have a tough time convincing the judge that the public is actually confused and mistaken by the pictures.
The case of Philadelphia news anchor Karen Hepp is clearer in the alleged misuse, but not in the perpetrator. Images of the good-looking news anchor have been used by various sites and companies for selling diverse products and services including dating sites, erectile dysfunction products as well on pornographic sites. She is suing internet giant Facebook and Reddit for compensatory damages of more than $10 million.
On the photo-sharing site Imgur, which reportedly has some 300 million users, Hepp’s image appears in a section labeled “MILF” where it has more than 11,000 views.
Hepp’s lawyers are also demanding her picture be removed from all these sites. This may be the proverbial cat out of the bag.
“In this case, the rights of Ms. Hepp were clearly violated as it is her picture being used. It involves not only privacy and the right to control your own image but also copyright violations”, said Marcos E. Garciaacosta.
“Additionally, there may be more legal violations such as defamation”, Marcos concluded.
Do you have a question regarding personal rights or another topic related to intellectual property, trademark or copyright law? Schedule a free 15-minutes consultation with attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta at (480) 324-6378.