Strip club argues image rights with Zeta-Jones
Catherine Zeta-Jones has sued a strip club in Reno, Nevada over its use of her image on its web site, which carried the tagline "The Friendliest Topless Cabaret in Reno," according to media reports.
Zeta-Jones, currently the face of Elizabeth Arden's new fragrance, says the images would "dilute the value of her celebrity endorsement". However, the club's owners say they obtained the photo from a "royalty free" web site and did not recognise the Oscar-winning star.
Zeta-Jones sued on Thursday at an LA district court. It claims that at no point in her life has she ever visited The Spice House, nor did she give permission for the use of her image alongside nude models.
"She should have been flattered," Kent Wallace, a spokesman for The Spice House told Reuters, adding that his establishment is "shocked and bemused" by the action. "She is a big double-D and we are just B-cups. She ought to pick on someone her own size."
Earlier this year, Zeta-Jones and her husband Michael Douglas won damages from Hello! after the magazine printed unauthorised snaps of their wedding. The couple had sold exclusive rights to rival OK!. She also threatened to sue another publication over a story which advised that she had been on the famous Atkins diet.
In the UK, the law of passing off can sometimes be used to prevent a celebrity’s image being used overtly to promote a commercial product. The closest the UK courts have come to recognising a “celebrity right” was racing driver Eddie Irvine’s success against talkSPORT in the High Court in March 2002, although the decision was consistent with existing principles. It simply recognised the commercial value of personal endorsements.
In Irvine's case, a promotional brochure was sent to less than 1,000 people advertising radio station Talk Radio, with a photo which had been doctored to show Irvine holding a radio bearing a Talk Radio logo, instead of a mobile phone, which he was holding in the original photo.
Back in the US, in celebration of the fact that it is being sued, The Spice House is having a special Hallowe'en contest where patrons are invited to come dressed as their "favourite brunette star".
Naomi Campbell appeals on privacy and confidence, OUT-LAW News, 19/02/2004
Ewan McGregor wins privacy action, OUT-LAW News, 18/11/2003
Nominal award for Douglas and Zeta-Jones, OUT-LAW News, 08/11/0203
- Web Site Compliance (October 2004)
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