Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Woman Claims Yahoo Owes Her $20 Million For Using Her Photo

from the say-what-now? dept

Late last year, New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady sued Yahoo after he found out that Yahoo was using his photograph in an advertisement for their fantasy sports service. Whether or not you think Yahoo can make an argument for using the photograph, you can sort of see where Brady is coming from. As a superstar sports player, he commands a ton of money for endorsing products, and people could interpret his image as endorsing Yahoo's service. However, it's hard to make much sense of some random woman in Ohio deciding to sue Yahoo for $20 million over a similar infraction. Apparently, the woman discovered a photo of herself being used in the sign-up confirmation email for Yahoo's email system. She's retained 3 separate law firms to push the case forward, claiming her right of publicity was violated. Of course, a right of publicity usually is to protect famous people who's likeness actually has commercial value (such as, say, Tom Brady). It's not clear what sort of commercial advantage Yahoo took from this woman. If they didn't use her photo, they could have used one of a million other generic photos of random people.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:05am

    I don't buy the argument that "because she's not famous, she cannot claim 'right to publicity'". It's high time that these corporations start paying for things that they
    feel they deserve to get free.

    Sure, Yahoo could've used any of a number of other photos, but *WHY* do you believe that they can use them for free? If it's clearly the woman's likeness, and Yahoo is conducting buessiness by using it, then she should be compensated.

    TANSTAAFL, doncha know.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:18am

      Excessive

      OK - I can see that maybe she should get some compensation, but 20 mil seems a bit excessive to me. I mean she really hasn't faced any hardships, like getting mobbed by over zealous Yahooligans. I don't know, this is purely opinion and I'll prob get flamed, but it just seems a bit over the top asking for 20 mil.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 9:50am

        Re: Excessive

        If Tom Brady can ask for it why can't she? It's her face. She can ask whatever she wants for its commercial use. It's Yahoo's own doing for unauthorized use. An expensive lesson but their own damn fault. Zero sympathy here. I hope she gets every cent.

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      • identicon
        Nasty Old Geezer, 2 Mar 2007 @ 10:44am

        Re: Excessive

        Maybe not, I can get $10 mil for spilling hot coffe on myself at a famous fast food joint.

        Geez -- you can sue anybody for anything and claim any amount. If it actually gets a judge, he will likely tell them to settle. If it goes to a jury -- she could get anything from ten bucks to a half of Yahoo.

        Likely this is just posturing to get Yahoo to settle quicker, and for a few more bucks.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:13am

    but 20m?

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  • identicon
    Mike Panic, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:15am

    derr

    You can buy royalty free stock photos for a buck, why would a major company like Yahoo be so ignorant?

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  • identicon
    Neal, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:17am

    how much

    I don't think there's any question she should be compensated, assuming she didn't absentmindedly or unknowingly sign a release to the original photographer somewhere along the line. This is a strictly commerical use after all.

    The question is for how much and the answer is for the average compensation an unknown would recieve for such use, plus a small punative award if Yahoo had no reason to believe it owned the right to use her likeness. If Yahoo purchased the rights to the photo from a photographer then her claim is against the photographer.

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    • identicon
      TheDock22, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:38am

      Re: how much

      I agree, she is suing the wrong person. The photographer is the one who originally sold the photo and therefore should compensate the model. She has no right to go after Yahoo, since they bought the photo from the photographer who owns the rights to the image. She's just a nobody model, and most models do not make $20 million.

      I doubt Yahoo just went and searched for random photos of people to use for free in their marketing campaign. No big company is that dumb.

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      • identicon
        Richard Ahlquist, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:54am

        Re: Re: how much

        Are you sure Yahoo bought it? Ive worked for plenty of publishing companies who hire employees who make the mistake that since a photo is online, they think they can freely use it.

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    • identicon
      Steve, 2 Mar 2007 @ 9:27am

      Re: how much

      How anyone gets in a contract is a negotiation between the two parties involved. Yahoo, by using her picture before having an agreement kind of loses their ability to negotiate after the fact, and in effect should have to pay whatever she says.

      Who is Yahoo to decide that this particular woman's picture should have a particular value? Perhaps she's been stalked before, and doesn't want her image out in public? Perhaps she's in the witness protection program? There's all kinds of reasons that someone would put a high value on their privacy, and for Yahoo to ignore it is just stupid. There's probabaly 1000 people on Yahoo's payroll who would have done it for free..

      Granted, I think 20m is crazy, perhaps companies will do things on the up-and-up if they know there are repercussions to this sort of crap.


      -Steve

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  • identicon
    Evil_Bastard, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:20am

    @derr

    c'mon, this is yahoo we are talking about.

    Yahoo should have to pay her something, i may be crazy but I'm guessing the 20m will come down a bit.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:20am

    20m to Yahoo is a drop in the bucket. Anything less and they would pay the woman off and continue using what ever they image they want. For corps you have to make it big to get their attention. So its not that the woman deserves 20m, its that Yahoo needs it to be 20m before they will make changes.

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    • identicon
      Sk8r, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:28am

      Re:

      This is called 'negotiation', people. If she asked for $1000 she would probably get $1000. If she asked for $10,000 she probably would get it. The object is to aim high and see what the court is willing to award, or Yahoo is willing to offer to settle out of court, which in all likelihood is what will happen.

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  • identicon
    Casper, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:26am

    I doubt her entire life is worth 20m, but she should be compensated. I would say a more realistic figure would be in the thousands. The going rate of a generic low end model is somewhere in the thousands. The pay has nothing to do with the amount of exposure, since that's what models are seeking anyway; it has to do with the value associated with the name.

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  • identicon
    Enrico Suarve, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:31am

    Define Famous

    I think everyone has the right to privacy except maybe in the case of 'fair use' (i.e. to report major news events)

    There's plenty of people these days on my telly who seem to consider themselves famous celebrities (although I think once you're past the H list you're pushing it)

    If anything people who go out of the way to shove themselves in front of cameras every 5min have less of a claim to breach of privacy than this lady rather than more

    Sue for 20million, settle for 1 - seems pretty standard US court strategy to me

    Post 4 may have a point though if Yahoo did not realise they were using an 'unreleased' photo

    Go girl ;0)

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  • identicon
    Ryan, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:35am

    EULA???

    Doesn't it say somewhere in one of Yahoo's EULA that they have the right to use any image posted on their site?? I think they used to have that anyway, and they probably snagged that image off of something that was on yahoo somewhere. Maybe not though.

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  • identicon
    Karl, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:49am

    That much?

    I agree that she has the right to privacy, jsut like any other person on this earth. It is also good to aim high on lawsuits concerning privacy, but 20 million? I think that's too high, she probably wont get it.

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  • identicon
    ?Saygin, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:53am

    It just has to be said...

    TTIWWOP

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  • identicon
    John, 2 Mar 2007 @ 7:54am

    Was it the 30 something brunette in blue?! She was pretty nice!

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  • identicon
    DuroSoft, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:03am

    Think about it this way...

    Just because a famous person's picture is in the newspaper, doesn't mean the famous person endorses that newspaper. So how is this any different?

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  • identicon
    flickrUser, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:04am

    Flickr

    I (for her sake) hope she didn't post it to FLICKR (owned by Yahoo!) with a creative commons license ;)

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  • identicon
    Anon Cow, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:05am

    high time

    From first comment
    "It's high time that these people start paying for things that they
    feel they deserve to get free."
    Oh, wait, he said "corporations" not "people." Makes a difference.

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  • identicon
    mike3, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:06am

    question

    question what legally defines some one as "famous" if you use my pic for commercial interests I should be payed or at least be made aware of it heard of a contract? If they would of have made a contract at first they could have payed a lot less or have found out that this women was crazy and picked a person that would cost less.

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  • identicon
    You never know, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:07am

    Here is the issue, If she is clamming her rights to publicity is being violated then she is clamming to be a professional and should be licensed and subject to taxation on her earnings, or positional earning. The reason she is suing is she thinks it’s going to be free money and she is going for the deepest pockets, not some starving photographer. To make a short story long, some one has put the bug in her ear that there is some easy money to be made, and all she has to do is file a lawsuit. Hmmmm, sounds like a lawyer is behind this doesn’t it….

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  • identicon
    MPSB, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:10am

    Someone should slap this woman!!

    This is just another example of how litigous the greedy people of the world have become. This woman needs to loose the lawsuit and Yahoo needs to sue her for the lawyers fees!! I am so sick and tired of people in this country suing everyone and anyone with the sole purpose of getting rich and not having to work for it. This woman suffered in absolutely no way what so ever!! The courts need to start making examples of people who bring frivolous lawsuits and they should start here. It is sad that so many of you posting agree that this woman should sue and get money, you guys are just as much of the problem as she is, you are condoning frivolous lawsuits that backlog our courts. All I hope is she looses and they make her cover the court costs!!! I mean have the people of this world gotten so lazy that they are all just looking for ways to make a quick buck instead of working hard for what they have?!?!

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    • identicon
      mammy nun, 2 Mar 2007 @ 9:34am

      Re: Someone should slap this woman!!

      The people that agree with this woman are the same people that think file "sharing" is not stealing. They will twist any argument to win out over big business.

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      • identicon
        MyNameIsMatt, 2 Mar 2007 @ 9:50am

        Re: Re: Someone should slap this woman!! - Or not

        Ok, some of these comments are just absurd. If the photo is up on Yahoo, then it is probably a professionally created photo meaning that she is a professional model. Her job is getting her picture used on sites like Yahoo, so if Yahoo uses a photo of her, then she has a right to compensation, and that would be true even if she weren't a professional model because Yahoo is using the picture primarily to promote their service and make money. If you think that's unreasonable, then we might as well take all pictures off advertising because they make no impact on the actual advertising.

        Some people say she should sue the photographer as the person who holds the right to the photo, but I didn't see any mention that a photographer owned the right to the photo and not her. I would assume that she owns the right to her own image in this case, and any use of it by Yahoo is Yahoo's fault.

        Some people may not like the amount, but it probably is a high market to make sure she actually makes something out of this. Also, one person mentions that you can buy similar photos for a buck, but that's actually false. Even at stock photo sites like istockphoto, if the picture is used or shown (or expected to be shown) more than 100,000 times, then you need to get an exclusion extended right to you.

        I think most people's awe at this is more a lack of ignorance in how professional photography and modeling work, and just because someone is famous or not has little impact. Just because someone is famous doesn't mean they have rights everyone else doesn't have.

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    • identicon
      Ugh, 3 Mar 2007 @ 10:30pm

      Re: Someone should slap this woman!!

      Someone should slap this woman!! by MPSB on Mar 2nd, 2007 @ 8:10am
      This is just another example of how litigous the greedy people of the world have become. This woman needs to loose the lawsuit and Yahoo needs to sue her for the lawyers fees!! I am so sick and tired of people in this country suing everyone and anyone with the sole purpose of getting rich and not having to work for it. This woman suffered in absolutely no way what so ever!! The courts need to start making examples of people who bring frivolous lawsuits and they should start here. It is sad that so many of you posting agree that this woman should sue and get money, you guys are just as much of the problem as she is, you are condoning frivolous lawsuits that backlog our courts. All I hope is she looses and they make her cover the court costs!!! I mean have the people of this world gotten so lazy that they are all just looking for ways to make a quick buck instead of working hard for what they have?!?!

      =========================
      You took the words right out of my mouth. You want to sue someone? You better be able to show you suffered significantly. No blood...no broken bones...no lawsuit. Now go back to work...or get a job and quick trying to figure out how to get rich quick.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:20am

    AFAIK, it is illegal to use a picture of anyone for commercial purposes unless the individual has signed a consent form.

    While I do not think 20 million is a reasonable amount, I do not blame the woman for the suit at all assuming she never signed a release form with the photographer allowing commercial use of the photo.

    There are zillions of stock photos which can be used for a buck or so.

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    • identicon
      TheDock22, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:50am

      Re:

      I do not blame the woman for the suit at all assuming she never signed a release form with the photographer allowing commercial use of the photo.

      Again, then she should sue the photographer for selling her image without her consent. You can not sue a company that obtained an image in legal ways (i.e. pay the photographer for the picture) when the fault lies with the seller (i.e. the photographer).

      I guess it is pretty unclear how Yahoo obtained this image. If anyone can dig up some dirt on how Yahoo got the image in the first place, post a link on the forum. I'd be interested in reading it.

      How Yahoo obtained the photo is what will determine if this woman is entitled to any money at all.

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  • identicon
    TW Burger, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:31am

    Using Constructs instead of real people

    There is a growing trend toward the use of "artificial" people when the generic image of a person is used in media. This has the advantage of easily picking and then fine tuning the perfect persona and removing all potential future embarrassment or litigation, as in this case.

    An example is the Ivory Soap box cover in the 1970s had a picture of Marilyn Chambers before she starred in the pornographic movie "Behind the Green Door" which made her infamous.

    After that Ivory used an artist's portrait.

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  • identicon
    wolff000, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:41am

    Should Have Asked For More

    If Yahoo had simply bought a cheap stock photo or just hired her they could have paid her a few thousand and she probably would have taken the money with a smile. When they used it with out consent it showed complete dis contempt for her especially if she is a model of any type. Even crappy walmart models get paid. I would have asked for 100 mil it will probably get dropped a lot lower in court or they will settle for a lot lower. The more you ask for the more they settle for. Yahoo simply shouldn't have been so ignorant they deserve what they get.

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  • identicon
    EdB, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:44am

    Stop thinking about $20M as a single figure. What should the cost per view be, and how many times has yahoo served that image to people?

    Remember the lady who got 3rd degree burns that required skin grafts from McDonalds coffee spilling in her lap? Her initial award, while huge as a single figure, amounted to the profits MickeyDee makes from coffee in a single day. Unfortunately the corporate giant was able to have that reduced significantly on appeal.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:50am

    I'm the poster of the first comment, and I don't understand why everyone
    things the lady doesn't "deserve" $20 million.... it's not a matter of what
    anyone deserves, it's what the market will bear.

    Think of it this way: Do you think Bose deserves several hundred dollars for their Wave Radio? No, they don't, but that's what the market will bear.

    In this case, look at it from another perspective: How much money
    does Yahoo earn? How much did they earn from the use of her picture?
    She should, at the very least be entitled to a portion of the money that
    Yahoo earned by using her picture, and then she should get further damages
    for unauthorized use of her image -- something punitive enough to cause
    corporations to pause in the future before they think they can get away
    with using whatever they want for free.

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    • identicon
      AMP, 2 Mar 2007 @ 11:22am

      Re:

      Not quite.
      1. "it's what the market will bear" - There is no "market for law suites. This is a punitive issue to be settled by the courts and there are legal precedents for amounts of money to be paid out should she win her case.

      2. It doesn't matter how much $ Yahoo earns. There are legal standards that have to be met for her to win her case. one of which is that she has to prove that her likeness has commercial value.

      3. It has not yet been proven that Yahoo earned anything because of the use of her picture. If she can prove that they did, then more power to her. But, my assumption would be that this would be a tough case for her to win.

      Giving someone $20 million because their picture was taken is a terrible precedent to have set.

      Then again, I'm not a lawyer, so I could be wrong.

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  • identicon
    Iron Chef, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:52am

    Lucky Lotto Ticket to fame and riches

    I hate it when people think they struck "The Powerball Lottery" when they find their likeness used. This is also considering, the picture was probably taken by an agency with proper lighting, and a professional photographer, for use in a royalty-free portfolio.

    Logic dictates that Yahoo's Marketing Department (internal or outsourced) was probably using a royalty-free service to procure "Product-Modeling"-photographs. Additionally, (but unlikely) there may be the possibility that Yahoo sanctioned a yahoo-specific shoot.

    Either way, I'm skeptical that the talent did not know the intent of using the photography, with the talent's intent of getting into the lucrative business of product modeling. So someone decided to use your photo. That's great, and the talent could have used this to catapult their career.

    So yes, it would need to be established how yahoo fits in the chain of custody for the photograph.

    $20M for a picture, or series of pictures, regardless of procurement method, is quite outrageous... Even if the talent is a no-talent hack who could not break into the modeling industry. But the ask of $20M is very self rightous, and a mirror on the person's character.

    It's probably this level of self-absorbtion that other companies never decided to work with them.

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  • identicon
    Iron Chef, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:57am

    Re: Lucky Lotto Ticket to fame and riches

    ... She wants $20M plus a portion of the ad revenue/profits from the service.

    Shannon is a self-absorbed trainwreck.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 8:59am

    Basically, there is fault on both sides.

    Yahoo using a photo of a non-Yahoo employee in public correspondence without asking permission - wrong

    Woman demanding the ridiculous amount of $20 million in compensation - also wrong

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 9:44am

      Re:

      The only fault is on Yahoo's side for trying to take advantage of this woman. They lose. She has every right to demand whatever she wants for commercial use of her face.

      If a company gambles and uses someone's image without authorization (giving them ammunition to demand an inflated price) and they get caught it's their own damn fault.

      Companies need to be sent a message that they cannot use someone's image without authorization. If they do they should face the consequences. In this case, it's an expensive lesson. Either way, Yahoo knows better and I have zero sympathy.

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  • identicon
    WM Henderson, 2 Mar 2007 @ 9:23am

    Re: Basically, there is fault on both sides.

    I see your point, but consder that many musical, painting, and picture artists, even actors usually give up several years of no or little pay before they became famous. If it was something she seriously wanted to do, she should have known this, and approached it this way. Just a thought.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 9:29am

    Use of anyone's image for commercial purposes without authorization is wrong and infringes on that individuals right to set commercial value of their face. I don't see how that can seriously be disputed.



    Yahoo DID NOT uses one of a million other individuals, they used HER photo and they, just like with Tom Brady, need to secure the right to do so. Period.



    If companies could use anyone's photo for commercial gain without authorization what would stop someone from using your face for a jock-itch ad. I'd be pissed if it was me. This is blatant infringement on individual rights and has NOTHING to do with how famous someone is – especially since fame is a relative thing (she might be famous for something; so because YOU haven't heard of her means her argument is moot? That's 100% bullshit there Mike).

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 9:55am

    Yahoo Owes her compensation without a doubt and we need MORE suites like this, not fewer.
    There has arisen a very bad practice with on-line advertisers and such just using random image grabs off the web for their promotional images. Yahoo shouldn't do it in the same way AdultFriendFinder should not be able to get away with using none released images like they do.
    The web is getting mature now and it's time for some of the wild wild west stuff to go away.

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  • identicon
    The infamous Joe, 2 Mar 2007 @ 10:00am

    Cry a river, build a bridge and get over it.

    This is all so childish that it makes me weep for my country.

    First off, these things should be on a case by case basis. It's not jock-itch we're talking about, it's a simple welcome email from yahoo. Our legal system isn't a get-rich-quick game show and it shouldn't be used as such. She needs to show damages equalling 20 *million* dollars _plus_ part of what they made from the picture _plus_ her court costs. Also, she shares her name with an unfortunate young girl who was killed on a car crash, and that young girl has more hits on google than this litigation whore.

    As far as I know, no one decided on yahoo because of a picture they wouldn't even see until *after* they signed up, so the picture itself didn't actually make ANY money. As for the 20 million, well, seeing as the only claim to fame this woman has is this lawsuit, using her image certainly didn't hurt her career and the arguement could be made that it could have helped it.

    I think she should get slapped down and told to get a job-- and maybe call her a hippie for good measure. :)

    An interesting side note, it seems the picture in question has another person in it, should we be expecting another childish lawsuit again soon?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 10:16am

    The Solution!

    Kill all the lawyers!

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  • identicon
    Michael, 2 Mar 2007 @ 10:30am

    This is not to everyone, but it seems as though a lot of people believe that this money is just what she should have been paid. There are plenty of reasons for the sum to be so inflated. First is the plain fact that they used her likeness for advertising without her permission.

    In fact, her being a non celebrity should actually improve her case. It won't improve the $ amount but for the ability to prove she should not have been thrust into the limelight without an agreement with yahoo. Not to mention that she could be suing for emotional distress for the thrust this limelight has caused. While you or I may not understand that it does not invalidate what it could have done to her.

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  • identicon
    MPSB, 2 Mar 2007 @ 10:37am

    At least there is some intelligent people here...

    One of the only people posting here that has any intelligence is 'The Infamous Joe' (I weep with you my friend). I don't understand how any of you could agree with this lazy, gold-digging, peace of crap hippie!! Are all of you so stupid or blind that you can't see beyond 'getting revenge on big business' to see how frivolous lawsuits like this hurt everyone! We are talking about a picture here people (and most of you should probably look up our privacy laws because you don't know what your talking about). It seems most of you just hate 'Big Business' (you freakin hippies) and just want to see someone stick it to them. I have had my picture used in a few things before (like when I was in the hospital after a motorcycle accident and the Oncology Dept. needed someone for their pamphlets) and since I never signed a waiver should I sue the hospital now. This is simply a case of another laxy person looking to get rich with as little effort as possible. The fact that so many of you agree with her just shows how pathetic and litigous this country (and world for that matter) has become. Thank you 'The Infamous Joe' for showing me that there are some people out there with intelligence. For all of you who agree with this bitch all I have to say is I hope someone sues you for some frivolous reason and then maybe you will get it!!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 10:45am

    If they didn't use her photo, they could have used one of a million other generic photos of random people

    Well then, they should have.

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  • identicon
    Joe, 2 Mar 2007 @ 11:04am

    legal precedent

    This reminds me of a legal case from a few years ago. I forget the details but the gist of it was that a guy felt his name had value, despite not being famous In trying to determine that value, he used 1.7 cents which was the amount used to purchase his name for a bulk mailing list. So - Tom Brady's name is worth 20 million. His name was worth 1.7 cents. But they both have value and must then be treated in the same manner. That being said - the woman's case is still a crock. Most likely she's looking for a cash payout to avoid the nuisance aspect.

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  • identicon
    Paul, 2 Mar 2007 @ 11:16am

    Hah

    After a few months in court evidence will arise which reveals the fact that the photo was taken somewhere where her right to publicity was waived.

    For example, when you go to a theme park such as Six Flags there is some fine print on the back of the ticket you purchase which says something along the lines of "By entering the park you acknowledge the fact that your image or likeness may be used in advertisement"

    Hooray for ignorant people trying to get their free lunch.

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  • identicon
    SATAN, 2 Mar 2007 @ 11:18am

    Royalty Free

    There are companies that sell Royalty free pictures. They could just use one of those, or on of their own staff.

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  • identicon
    pog, 2 Mar 2007 @ 11:44am

    double standards... alive and well!

    I agree with the first poster who later said:
    =====================
    I don't understand why everyone
    things the lady doesn't "deserve" $20 million.... it's not a matter of what
    anyone deserves, it's what the market will bear.
    =====================

    However... when the judiciary gets involved, it's no longer just a question of "what the market will bear", I think. Using the courts brings "coercion" into the game.

    Still, I think it's funny that when corps use coercion to get their way, it's called "cut-throat business"... when individuals do it, they're called all sorts of nasty things. LOL!

    Either way, I think we need a lot more details to know what to think about this particular case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      AMP, 2 Mar 2007 @ 11:52am

      Re: double standards... alive and well!

      Okay, on the open market, this ladies likeness is probably worth about a nickel? If she deserves $20 million, then Tom Brady should get how many billions? His image generates a hell of a lot more $$ than hers. Why does everybody on this site bitch and moan that professional athletes get paid way too much, but when it comes to some nut job lady in Ohio, it's all about capitalism and market value?

      And what the hell is this all about? "Still, I think it's funny that when corps use coercion to get their way, it's called "cut-throat business"... when individuals do it, they're called all sorts of nasty things. LOL!"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nik, 2 Mar 2007 @ 11:51am

    was it really her?

    Ok I can see to pay this lady money (not 20M) if it was really her. But how many people have the same hair color? eye? same build? I know people that have a twin. You have to ask Yahoo who the picture was of and if it is not of this one lady. Then why should she be saying that now they owe her 20M! I mean really! what gives her the right to say (example) that she is going to sue yahoo for claiming to be blonde blue-eyed, tanned, with a great smile? doesn't that sound like someone you know? Just sayin' if she didn't take the picture then shut the heck up! But I do agree that if Yahoo is using a picture of her then YES she has EVERY right to sue them! but how about for 2m or just 1m (but them her 'lawyers' would get it all right?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    william, 2 Mar 2007 @ 11:59am

    Who owns the photo

    I always thought that the person that took the photo as the "artist" owns the right to it and it could not be used without their permission. The person in it has nothing to do with who owns it. That is why the tabloids are allowed to print photos of people without asking permission and without paying them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 12:17pm

    They should give her the 20 mil and then use her image on all of their "adult" sections of their website.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TheDock22, 2 Mar 2007 @ 12:33pm

    RE: Who owns the photo

    william, you are one hundred percent correct. The USA does NOT have laws that say you need to ask someone before taking their picture. Some states do, but Ohio is not one of them. Therefore, the picture belongs to the photographer, regardless of who is in the photo.

    Since I highly doubt she and her friend photographed themselves (the don't look smart enough to get the lighting and set the auto-timer) then a photographer was involved and the photo is their property. Then can do whatever they want with THEIR photo and the subjects can try all they want, but they do not own the property.

    There is the other issue of is she robbed of $20 million since her photo was used on Yahoo? No way, IF there was no photographer involved (again, highly unlikely) then she can only sue for what the picture would be worth, regardless of who uses her photo (think, if some unknown website used her photo would she sue for $20 million?) A celebrity photo can sell for thousands of dollars, but I've never heard of a photo selling for $20 million dollars since that's not its worth.

    Finally, I agree she's a gold digger. If she was a true model, she sure wouldn't care Yahoo used her picture since its great publicity. She's just some dumb woman who thinks she can weasel money out of Yahoo. She's not even worth the paper it would cost to print that photo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      pog, 2 Mar 2007 @ 1:21pm

      Re: RE: Who owns the photo

      A photographer cannot just do anything they want with a photo they've taken of a subject WHO HAS NOT SIGNED A RELEASE.

      While the photographer owns the rights to the image, without a release, the photo is commercially useless. Yes, the subject has no copyright... but the photographer has no release. A stalemate, of sorts.

      I don't think this woman's suit has anything to do with the photo's copyright. It's her own image that was improperly used.

      We don't know if the woman forgot about signing a release... I'm sure many photographer-model relationships involve blanket releases. It would be tedious to have to release every single photo one at a time.

      Maybe the photographer uploaded the photo to a stock agency and mistakenly (or otherwise) checked off the box that says "release available" (etc). Maybe the release is forged.

      Maybe Yahoo just grabbed the photo from some online gallery without any regard for copyright or release.

      Lots of maybes. One thing for sure... an image such as this one must have a model release to be used in this kind of advertising.

      Who's liable? I think that depends on how Yahoo got the image. IANAL, though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    hbpantherfan, 2 Mar 2007 @ 12:36pm

    Yahoo email gal

    agree or not, it stands that exploitation of the woman's image has helped Yahoo to enlist "customers" to their free email service. As the number of customers grows, so does the commercial viability of all the little banner ads, sidebar ads, and other commercial content that is SOLD by Yahoo to their advertising clients. That's the angle behind the 20 million, and frankly, Yahoo IS liable UNLESS they purchased the image from a photographer with a signed iron-clad release from the subject.

    20mil seems excessive compared to how much advertising revenue Yahoo has generated during the time it allegedly exploited the woman's image? I couldn't say...

    I signed up for yahoo mail and all I got was a bunch of spam.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      AMP, 2 Mar 2007 @ 12:42pm

      Re: Yahoo email gal

      it stands that exploitation of the woman's image has helped Yahoo to enlist "customers"

      I think that is up to debate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TheDock22, 2 Mar 2007 @ 12:53pm

      Re: Yahoo email gal

      How in the WORLD could her mug help Yahoo enlist customers when the image was on the CONFIRMATION page AFTER the customer signs up for an e-mail address?!

      Don't post if your not going to bother reading the issue at hand.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 2 Mar 2007 @ 1:41pm

    I kinda agree with her...

    I think she does deserve some compensation but 20mil is a bit much. It would seem the only reason she is tacking on invasion of privacy is cover her real plan which is to get paid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    suckerpunch-TM, 2 Mar 2007 @ 3:02pm

    If I were the judge, I'd give her a pack of smokes and a can of tennis balls.

    What the fuck ever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ReDeYeZ, 2 Mar 2007 @ 3:20pm

    2 cents

    $20million?
    ...was it a centerfold spread?
    ...a full blown multi-page nudie layout?
    ...this is gonna put 'poor Hef' outta business.

    (Quick, someone take a picture of her when the judge bitch-slaps her; then, post it here)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Echo, 2 Mar 2007 @ 6:42pm

    Sk8r is right

    Negotiation is right. How much is Yahoo willing to spend in court costs to fight this? That is what she should get. I'd say that's about $100,000. They should offer $1,000 and start splitting the difference. They could make this go away cheaply today. No need to clog the blogs following this stupid case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 2 Mar 2007 @ 10:18pm

    Equality

    Eveyone's image should be held to have the same value in such cases. Thus she should sue for whatever the most anyone got indexed for inflation and see what happens. Just because I have never heard of her does not mean that her image is worht les than someone I have heard of.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    thinkfaster, 3 Mar 2007 @ 12:19pm

    If you take a picture in a public space of someone, they are not guaranteed a right to privacy. However, you need permission from the subject to use that photograph in advertising. If the person in question is not truly the 'subject' of the photograph, this does not apply. For example, I take a picture of some fountain and you're sitting on it, if I claim/prove the fountain is the subject of my photo, I can use it in an ad. There is a lot of caselaw in situations like this, however, like many legal issues there's a lot up for interpretation. IANAL.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2007 @ 6:12am

    MPSB and Ugh:

    Yahoo! is a commercial organization, and they have NO right to use the likeness or image of someone without their permission, even if it's your non-famous next-door neighbor.

    She most certainly won't get $20M, but considering that the photo is used on all of Yahoo's mail logins and considering the wide popularity and the revenue Yahoo! generates from advertising on its mail service, why should Yahoo! not share at least a portion of that with her? Yahoo! isn't a charity or a non-profit organization. They rake in billions in revenue for the sake of their shareholders and also spend billions to legally license software and other intellectual property for their commercial purposes.

    Most of all, this isn't some idiot who blames an automobile manufacturer for their injuries when they didn't do up their own seatbelt. It's her likeness, it has commercial value to a commercial organization because they used it, and now it's time to pay up. Not $20M, but it will be something far less that is not immaterial and I'm sure it'll be settled out of court long before it reaches even the discovery stage.

    And one more point - it's LOSE, not LOOSE. At least if you're trying to make an intelligent argument, know how to spell.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2007 @ 8:11pm

    This is what happens when people get their "education" on a subject like law from a bunch of monkeys of the interwebs.

    She probably isn't as cute as Brady, and wears less makeup.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cameron, 5 Mar 2007 @ 4:54am

    Question the source

    As a professional photographer, I've read this thread and the article with great interest.

    My stock agency (the really big one) requires a specific model release for every image that is clear on what rights are granted and the compensation of the "talent."

    It looks like some people have jumped to the conclusion that this photographer submitted the image to an agency without a release. If she was paid (even it was a nominal fee plus royalties from the image sales) and signed a release - a large law firm may think they can overturn the release stating - using an argument that she did not understand, etc, etc.

    If she signed a release - than the photographer is in good standing. If she did not - well, then he/she is in trouble.

    I would not rush to judgement on this issue. Maybe she thinks she will be awarded a decent sum of money because she never expected the image to be used this way - or that it was used in manner that she did not expect.

    I've had an image used by Yahoo on for a story on balding. They chose the image from my collection at the agency. (which was fully released and the photograph is of my assistant - who happens to be bald.) For two days my assistant received a bunch of calls from friends who saw it on Yahoo, and he made some extra money from the image being in the collection. But we are not talking huge money by any stretch. For the photographer or talent.

    Just trying to give another site to this story/issue. If a professional photographer is submitting to the big agencies and is under contract, they are required to submit a model release with the image. (The three stock agencies I am with require them - two with submission - the other - a statement that the release is available if needed.)

    If this was a professional shoot - (she was/is a model) - I would say most likely, that a release was signed - either the modeling agency release or the photographers release.) If this was a "test/portfolio shoot" and a release was not signed and the image submitted to an agency like the smaller Royalty Free/Microstock agency - then their may not be a release.

    The key is - people have concluded that she is in the right, the photographer should be sued, etc, etc. Without knowing the facts behind the case, these comments are pure speculation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark, 6 Mar 2007 @ 11:06am

    She is now

    Famous that is. I am sure news organizations will be clambering to get a photo of her and probably even pay for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mario, 18 Mar 2007 @ 11:54am

    BETA SIGNUP

    Hi, i want the NEW YAHOO PHOTO 3 BETA, but nobody at YAHOO help me !!!! I love Yahoo !!!! Yahoo is the BEST !! Yours, Mario

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    strangebrew, 29 Mar 2007 @ 9:08pm

    yahoo photo

    i must admit, i think we who are commenting here need to get lives.
    point: there exist here a double standard wherein it is wrong for individuals to sue corporations, but okay for corporations to sue. i know you ask what i mean, and i'm glad you asked.
    what is the reason a persons image is not valued like their intellectual property? why can you use my photo, but i cannot share software/music/movies/tv reception that i legally purchase (pray hard the oil companies do not try this dance!)? is 20mil. excessive? doesn't matter, the question is really will this case open the door of corporate exploitation wider, or will we have enough (left ambiguous intentionally)?
    either way, unless we've actually met this woman, could we at least keep our descriptions civil? bitch and whore are probably not on her resume, nor yours nor mine.
    try really hard to have a day that doesn't suck!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mario, 14 Apr 2007 @ 1:03am

    CAN NOT GET THE NEW YAHOO PHOTO

    Hello,

    i have written any month to YAHOO PHOTO that i would like to get the new yahoo photo 3 Beta. NO ONE can help.. I GIVE UP... Kisses, Mario

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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