What Models Should Do When They Find Their Pictures Poached

BOSTON—Tiffany Toth, in court papers, says she takes great pride in holding the title of Playboy Playmate. She also makes mention that she was a Cyber Girl of the Month and posed for three Playboy pictorials in years past. What wasn’t mentioned in those same court papers was that she ever worked for or was compensated by The Greatest Bar in Boston, which allegedly used pictures of the model without permission to promote the watering hole’s Facebook, Instagram and company website. Toth, along with four other plaintiffs—all well-known professional models—last week filed a lawsuit against The Greatest Bar for a litany of civil charges relating to the unauthorized use of images to promote the club. The Greatest Bar describes itself as a celebration of the “greatest people, places, moments and events that make the City of Boston legendary.” False advertising, false association, right of privacy, unauthorized use of name or picture, right of publicity, unfair trade practices, negligence, conversion and unjust enrichment, among other charges, were alleged by the five plaintiffs in the suit filed at Boston federal court. Toth, in the suit, claims that she, like other plaintiffs, never worked at the club or were otherwise affiliated or associated with the club and that its operators embarked on a campaign of false and misleading advertising. The former Playboy model continues her career and has her own fan base. She has more than 3.8 million Facebook followers, over 1.3 million Instagram followers and about 275,000 Twitter followers. Lawsuits like Toth’s and the other models are common these days. Numerous similar suits have been filed around the country, despite punitive results for those who infringe. As the despicable practice of poaching pics to push brands continues at a phenomenal rate, models should keep a close eye on violators and alert law professionals to put them in check. Maxine Lynn, who practices at the law firm of Keohane & D’Alessandro in Chicago and Albany, N.Y., and also operates sex-tech bent Unzipped Media Inc., offers some practical advice for models who find their images stolen. “Yes, models should be vigilant in pursuing companies that rip off their images,” Lynn told AVN. “The right to a person’s image, voice, etc., is a property right, and like any other form of property, there should be payment by a third party to commercially use it.  “In addition, a model’s image or voice used in association with a product, company or service could imply to the viewing public that there is an endorsement by the model,” the adult entertainment attorney said. “In some cases, this may be detrimental to the model’s reputation if it is not a cause they want to be associated with. If the model finds out about the usage, and then ‘lets it go,’ so to speak, and the usage continues, a court could say that the model ‘acquiesced’ — or implicitly agreed — to the usage, and therefore, forfeited any right to collect compensation. “The longer it goes on, the greater the chance this could happen.” Lynn said that she believes it is worth checking with an attorney, especially since many times the consultation is free. “The model can learn their rights and what it might cost to pursue and then decide based on a risk/benefit analysis whether it makes sense to sue, send a cease-and-desist letter, or file a complaint in a given instance,” she said. “The right to a person’s image, voice, persona, etc., is governed by laws of the various states, so the exact nature of the rights and, accordingly, what monetary damages could be at stake.” Calls to The Greatest Bar for comment went unreturned at post time. The Boston club currently is closed due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Pictured: Tiffany Toth (from Instagram)

written by: Rhett Pardon

source: What Models Should Do When They Find Their Pictures Poached | AVN