ADULT SUPERSTAR VICKY VETTE SCORES SIGNIFICANT RIGHT OF PUBLICITY RULING AGAINST ONLINE DATING GIANT ADULTFRIENDFINDER
Websites Not Immune to Right of Publicity Claims in California
Adult Superstar & current XBIZ Webstar of the Year & Miss Freeones 2012 Vicky Vette (http://www.twitter.com/vickyvette & http://www.vickyathome.com) is happy to announce that a Los Angeles Court has set significant legal precedent in Vette’s ongoing battle against battle against online dating giant AdultFriendFinder (the World’s Largest Online Sex & Swingers Dating Website) & Danni.com (both owned by Penthouse) – a ruling which strips website owners of absolute immunity from California Right of Publicity claims.
Vette’s lawsuit claims AdultFriendFinder wrongfully used her likeness to use on thousands of worldwide banners, advertisements & affiliate websites which identified her as ‘Groovy232’ looking for a ‘date’. Vette asserts that AdultFriendFinder is actively using pictures of a number of adult stars without their consent, knowledge or payment, to ‘bait’ or lure members of the general public into joining dating websites. AdultFriendFinder argued it obtained the pictures from Danni.com & that it was immune from Vette’s Right of Publicity related claims by virtue of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) as interpreted by the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeal decision of Perfect 10 vs. CCBill, 488 F3. 1102 (9th Cir. 2007). Section 230 of the CDA has been described in Wikipedia as ‘Landmark’ internet legislation crafted in an effort to immunize website operators from liability. (Wikipedia)
Los Angeles County Superior Judge Jan Levine has just issued the first California State Court decision which disagrees with Perfect 10 vs. CCBill – holding that the CDA does NOT immunize website operators from state law rights of publicity claims. In making her ruling, Judge Levine indicated she did not believe the Ninth Circuit in Perfect 10 vs. CCBill had interpreted the CDA properly. She agreed with a majority of other rulings outside California which criticize Perfect 10 v. CC Bill, and concluded that the plain language of the CDA does NOT bar federal or state Intellectual Property claims. This is the second significant ruling in Vette’s favor thus far. In March, the Court denied a Motion by AdultFriendFinder to dismiss Vette’s case completely because of a supposed binding Model Release.
Vette is one of the world’s best known adult stars. She is the #2 Followed Active adult star on twitter with over 317,000 followers. FriendFinder boasts over 500 million people have registered on its’ websites –
Vicky Vette is quoted as saying: “I am amazed this relatively small case has ballooned into Court rulings other entertainment attorneys may be citing to as legal authority or ‘precedent’. This case was settled nine months ago but AdultFriendFinder for some reason backed out of the deal. They since have thrown everything but the kitchen sink… no wait… they have thrown the fridge, the microwave AND the sink at defending this case. Win or lose, there is something fundamentally wrong with a company using my image all over the world as ‘bait’ to unsuspecting members of the general public – without even letting me know. There are millions of pictures of girls in the world they could have used in advertising – why mine?”
Vette is represented by Beverly Hills attorney and Adjunct Professor of Law Stephen Kernan, Esq. who added, “I took this case because I believed it had the possibility of making law in California on the intellectual property exception to CDA Section 230. The more courts that hold that the 9th Circuit erred when it decided Perfect 10 v. CC Bill, the more likely the 9th Circuit will either change that ruling or be ultimately overruled by The United States Supreme Court.”
Vette’s case is anticipated to proceed to trial later this year or early 2013. FriendFinder announced earlier this year that its CEO Marc Bell was stepping down on the heels of a $10 million loss for the 4th quarter of 2011. It has been trying to go public since May 2011.