TAMPA – About 20models are joined to a case now in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, seeking partial summary judgment against a collection of adult businesses – the Bottle Club LLC, Eyez Wide Shut LLC and others, over the use of personal images in advertising materials.
Plaintiffs in court documents allege that defendant companies used their images without their permission as part of promoting 'swinger clubs,' and how the models involved argue that protecting their image and likeness is critical in their profession.
The businesses reportedly use websites, social media pages and flyers to advertise.
According to the complaint, which detailed much of the alleged activity characterized as improper with regard to each plaintiff's images, some plaintiff's images were used on flyers, and some on the website. Plaintiffs allege they did not license the use of their images and that the use is damaging to their reputations as promoting “swinging” cultures. The complaint further alleges that the damage involved may harm the plaintiffs' ability to book modeling and advertising jobs, depending on the nature of the assignment and relationships with new or existing clients. The complaint goes into some detail about the process of modeling and how it works.
As a result, plaintiffs made claims of false advertising under the Lanham Act, as well as false endorsement and state law claims.
The court granted the ' summary judgment for the Lanham Act claims, while state law claims were dismissed without prejudice. The court ordered that the defendants motion for summary judgment be granted in part – subsequently plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment was denied and the clerk was ordered to close the case. Some of the claims, having been dismissed without prejudice, can still be pursued in follow-up court activity.