Mike Arrington outlines the details of the suite against FaceBook for $25 million in Statutory Damages
He has his own brand:
I am a very important person. Forbes recently named me No. 2 on their list of web celebrities, for example, and Business Week says I’m one of the 25 most influential people on the web.
His image is being used to endorse things:
that allow advertisers to post ads using my picture and name to endorse their products without my explicit permission. I’ve received literally dozens of emails from readers asking me if I’m associated with Blockbuster’s Movie Clique application, or the new Jackass movie (no to both).
The Law they are suing under:
The key factor in determining whether a use is permitted or not in California (where I live) is Civil Code Section 3344, which was first enacted in 1971. California is perhaps more aggressive than any other state in protecting publicity rights because of the number of people engaged in the entertainment business. The law allows for recuperation of damages, attorney’s fees and injunctive relief, as well as unspecified punitive damages and statutory damages of $750/incident in the event a person’s “name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness” is used “in any manner on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of products, merchandise, goods or services, without such person’s prior consent.” There are additional common law remedies available to us as well.
They didn’t want to do this but…
I am sad that this had to blow up to the point where we are publicly suing Facebook over the matter. We’ll be filing the lawsuit tomorrow along with a related civil case for assault and battery and infliction of emotional distress. In a round of negotiations over the lawsuit with Facebook led by Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, things got out of hand. When our team of lawyers offered to settle for a mere $50 million, Kelly told me Facebook would “bury you and bury your crappy blog” if we filed the suit. He then threw his steaming hot triple soy latte espresso at me, which caused extensive second degree burns over the top half of my body. Later on, he also unfriended me.
This lawsuit could be a major step forward for having clearer End User Licence Agreements along with establishing norms of use for people’s personal data on sites.