Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Accidental Model Sues Photo Agency

New York Daily News front page on August 9
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A 25-year-old Brooklyn woman last week sued Getty Images photo agency and plans to go after the New York State Division of Human Rights ("DHR") as well regarding a photo of her that appeared in an amNew York ad, according to accounts in The New York Post and New York Daily News.

The photo at issue of Ireland native Avril Nolan, who works in public relations, allegedly appeared two years ago in an online fashion spread. The image by photographer, Jena Cumbo, whom the Daily News article said knows Nolan in passing, wound up in the stable of Getty Images, which sold it to DHR. From there, Nolan's visage wound up in an ad that appeared in the April 3 edition of amNew York, only it was accompanied by the message: "I am positive (+) [and] I have rights."

Problem is that Nolan is not HIV positive and did not sign a release with Cumbo or Getty Images or otherwise give her permission for the photo to be used, according to Nolan's attorney, who is quoted in the Daily News article. That's bad news for Getty, which has been sued for $450,000 in Manhattan Supreme Court by Nolan, and soon will be a headache for DHR, which Nolan's attorney said will be sued for defamation and civil rights violations for creating the impression that Nolan is an HIV victim.

Bloggers and photo editors everywhere are involuntarily shivering a bit. It's serious business when a person depicted in an image taken out of context is cast in a false light.

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