Manhattan Supreme Court Judge O. Peter Sherwood has put an end to an interesting tort lawsuit over the use of a picture in the movie “Couples Retreat.” Former bikini model Irina Krupnik was disgusted when the movie showed actor Jon Favreau’s character masturbating to her picture and claimed that such use went beyond what was agreed to in a contract. She demanded $10 million but, according to Judge Sherwood, she will receive nothing.
Krupnik posed for a catalogue dressed in a scanty swimsuit in February 2001and sued the film’s distributor, NBC Universal, in March, claiming it “published [her] likeness in a vulgar context.” Her lawyer Tom Mullaney insisted that she never imagined her bikini photo would be used in this way. “Ms. Krupnik did not sign up for that.”
Sherwood found that Krupnik signed away their rights to the photo at the shoot and could have no say on its later use. That seems a sound decision to me.
Claims involving the appropriation of name or likeness have often been controversial. Past tort cases have generally favored celebrities and resulted in rulings like White v. Samsung, a perfectly ludicrous ruling where Vanna White successfully sued over the use of a robot with a blond wig turning cards as the appropriation of her name or likeness.
Source: NY Daily News