Lara Is Not A Porn Star

When Lara placed a self-portrait taken at age fourteen on deviantART, she never expected it to be stolen by TVX Films and placed on the cover of the DVD porno “Body Magic.” Lara asked the President of TVX Films to remove her photo and compensate her for the theft. He responded with the following email:

I’M SURE BY THE END OF THE MONTH YOUR FACE WILL BE HISTORY. WE HAVE STOPPED SELLING THE DVD UNTIL COVER IS REPLACED. WE HAVE FURTHER CHECKED OUT YOUR NAME AND ITS NOT LIKE IT’S A HOUSE WHOLE NAME. ACTUALLY, REMOVING YOUR IMAGE WILL HELP IMPROVE THE SELL OF THE DVD….. SO FAR IT BOMBED.

THEY ARE REMAKING THE COVER AS WE SPEAK SO YOUR TEN SECONDS OF FAME WILL SOON COME TO AN END.

AS FOR COMPSENSATION;YOUR SILLY!

We can’t help but appreciate the juxtaposition of our beloved semicolon and the wrong form of “you’re.” These pornographers, who make their business by slapping new covers on old DVDs, are clearly classy with a “K.”

Lara, now seventeen, needs a lawyer. Oddly, nobody is willing to take her case. Come on Verizon, lend Lara one of your blood-sucking lawyers; they could have this straightened out in an hour. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

(HELP) TVX Films situation (still not resolved) [deviantART]
(Photo: Lara Jade.)

Comments

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  1. lilmiscantberong says:

    Wow! Creepy that’s she was only fourteen. Happens all the time though, a month ago I googled my name, found a personal pic and information picked from the net on two different porn personal sites in other countries.

    What can you do?

  2. brkl says:

    Using a fourteen-year-old to market porno can’t be legal, permission or not.

  3. patchmonkey says:

    Reading her post, she’s said “I’ve contacted about three solictors near to where I live – they all say they cannot do anything because the company is based in Texas, USA. I’ve tried contacting lawyers over in America but not a lot of them will reply, a few lawyers that have told me I need at least £50,000 to take it on.”

    That’s bizarre and clearly incorrect. Even in Texas, invasion of privacy still is an actionable tort.

    I suppose that the horrid tort caps in Texas could have something to do with this…

  4. saerra says:

    Yikes… and people wonder why I squeamish about getting my picture taken these days :-(
    Good luck Lara!

  5. FromThisSoil says:

    Besides having a 14 year old on the cover of their latest DVD, they also have a 10 year old working in their customer service department – judging by the glaring grammatical errors.

  6. kimdog says:

    Ha! I really enjoyed “house whole name”. I assume that was meant to be household. Talk about hooked on phonics. The ignorance is truly phenomenal.

  7. kimdog says:

    Oh, and instead of trying to find a lawyer, maybe she could file a complaint with government entities that regulate porn?

  8. harleymcc says:

    How do I join said entity?

  9. divandaddy says:

    I represent the company TVX which was mentioned in the article posted on Gawker Media’s site.

    (http://consumerist.com/consumer/attention-pornographers/lara-is-not-a-porn-star-263775.php)

    The original photo of Lara was located on a free adult shareware site this past January, and after discussing the error and speaking to her – it was immediately replaced.

    The websites she mentions in her rant (http://larafairie.deviantart.com/journal/13087896/?offset=50) still feature the older cover, and they have not changed that image -but are selling the film with the revised cover – which can be seen at..

    http://www.tvxfilms.com/sales/images/jpgs/BodyMagic.jpg

    If you have any questions whatsoever, or would like to speak to the ownerat TVX personally to verify this information, – do contact.

    TVX Films – Attn: Bob • (888) 877-9993

  10. swalve says:

    I’d bet that because her face is obscured, the actual damages are very low. Too low to pay for the lawyer.

  11. FishingCrue says:

    There has got to be a young lawyer in TX looking to get his names in the headlines that will take this on a pro bono / contingent fee basis. Contact the Texas Bar Young Lawyers Division Trial Bar, they may be able to help.

  12. wonderskunk says:

    what ass wholes!
    Seriously though,the answer to lilmiscantberong’s question , “what can you do? ” is show better judgment and more common sense in the first place. Once you publish anything on the internet what happens to it is out of your control. A couple of weeks ago I was listening to a radio current affairs show called Ontario Today. They had a phone-in about websites like Myspace and Facebook. A mother phoned in to say that she used them to keep in touch with a group of women who had babies around the same age as hers – sharing stories and pictures. A few minutes later a retired police officer who had worked on a child pornography task force called in to warn that pornographers lurk on sites like these, download the photos, alter them so that they are sexualized , and circulate them as child pornography.
    I absolutely don’t condone TVX films , or anybody else for that matter misappropriating this or any other image, and I hope Lara can get compensation. But no amount of compensation is going to undo this.

  13. Anonymously says:

    She needs to get the RIAA’s layers on the case. Extortion over copyright infringement is their specialty.

  14. Sockatume says:

    Surely a reader in Texas could just phone a few local Senators or journalists (of a certain kind) and inform them that “this porn company is taking pictures of minors off the internet to advertise their product”? I mean, that sentence alone would be dynamite. A chance to use scaremongering for good, not evil.

  15. palaste says:

    This is truly amazing. That someone would make a porn movie cover photograph of someone who doesn’t even appear in the film, hasn’t given their permission, and is freaking underage, is so arrogant and stupid that I can’t even describe it here.

  16. lilmiscantberong says:

    @wonderskunk:

    You are absolutely correct. If I had not wanted my picture to be available, I would not have put it out there. I do understand the consequences, many innocent people do not.

    My motto: “You do it to yourself”

  17. wonderskunk says:

    But was the picture posted at deviantART (?!) identified as that of a fourteen year old ? I wouldn’t necessarily have guessed that she was that young just by looking at the picture. ( Of course, misappropriating the picture was wrong in and of itself.)

  18. Shutterman says:

    I’m wondering why she can’t just locate the local police in the town or district in which the company is based. If there is anything illegal about using her image or the fact that she is underage, the police should be able to do something or at least contact a county prosecutor.

    I do know that there was some law passed a few years back to crack down on underage actresses in “adult situations” that made penalties for using underage actresses and models much more severe. I don’t remember what it’s called officially since that isn’t remotely the kind of photography my company does but I did see it in a trade publication.

    Of course, I’m no expert here.

  19. nweaver says:

    Uhh, wouldn’t that perhaps violate the kiddie porn laws? Or at least imply a violation of kiddie porn laws?

    Contact the texas Attorney General’s office and the local DA where they are headquartered.

  20. wonderskunk says:

    I just checked the deviantART terms of service. Article 13, terms of service states:3. Registration

    “To register as a member of the Service or purchase products, you must be 18 years or lawfully permitted to enter into and form contracts under applicable law. In no event may minors submit Content to the Service. You agree that the information that you provide to us upon registration, at the time of purchase, and at all other times will be true”
    So the creeps at TVX films would be able that she lied about her age and they were honestly mistaken.

  21. Smashville says:

    @wonderskunk: How many 14 year olds do you think really understand this?

  22. amrcanpoet says:

    She’s STILL not of age to be associated with porn.

  23. wonderskunk says:

    @Smashville: Most of them. This wasn’t a candid snapshot posted on somebody else’s web-page without her knowledge. This is a deliberately created artistic self-portrait. She then chose to post it on the web. A four year old is that naive, not a fourteen year old.

  24. jedsa says:

    @wonderskunk: Doesn’t matter. First, there is a strong copyright infringement claim regardless of the question of age. Second, there is a strong claim for invasion of privacy. The question of her age has no bearing on either of these, and even still, the creeps at TVX films cannot claim honest mistake based on the DeviantArt TOS. Child pornography is a strict-liability offense. Knowledge, intent, etc. are irrelevant-the only question is was the subject underage. That said, this isn’t quite child pornography-the picture at issue is not pornography, indecent, or obscene (if it was, DeviantArt and the Consumerist wouldn’t still have it up!). I am unsure if there is a specific statute barring using an otherwise legal image of a 14-year-old girl to sell pornograpy. Still, it may be an avenue worth investigating.

    My advice for Lara is actually to try to contact Larry Flynt, tell her story, and see if he would be willing to have Hustler’s legal team take up her case. It would be a great way for Flynt and Hustler to get goodwill and show that there is honor and decency in the pornographic profession.

  25. bombaxstar says:

    That is disgusting. I mean, wow.

    That email is from the PRESIDENT of the company? God I`d hate to see the other workers…

    I love the content of the email though, “lol u r obviusly uglee so da dvd floped lol we did u a favor by putin ur piktur hur!11″

    I hope everything works out for her though.

  26. nevin says:

    As far as I can see, the issue that she should go down is one of copyright infringement. I’m not sure of the T&Cs at DeviantART but if she took the photo and the DVD company is using it without permission, them BOOM. Done and Done.

  27. SRSco says:

    @lilmiscantberong:

    asl s2r

  28. kimdog says:

    @wonderskunk: That doesn’t excuse the “adult film” company from doing their due diligence. US Code 2257 which was enacted a couple of years ago requires producers of sexually explicit material to attain proof of age for every model they shoot, and keep those records on hand. Federal inspectors may – at any time – launch inspections of these records and prosecute any infraction.Wiki explains.

    I am not an attorney, but my instinct is that even idf her photo was just on the cover of an adult film, she would fall under those guidelines. She may not be able to get money out of them, but she could get them shut down. She should contact the Texas Attorney General. I’m sure that Texas probably isn’t exactly porn friendly.

  29. wonderskunk says:

    @kimdog: Maybe. But Lara’s original picture was not sexually explicit, and I don’t see any signs that TVX films altered it to make it sexually explicit. So the creeps may be just inside the fine line.
    I agree with Nevin. The issue is that they misappropriated her picture. She clearly has a good case with that.

  30. QTex says:

    Sorry for the long comment, but there’s a lot of issues here.

    Ok, I’ll attempt to clear up some of the confusion regarding a Texas cause of action.

    First, the primary cause of action Lara may attempt to recover on is an intentional tort of invasion of the right of privacy for misappropriation of her image. The elements in Texas are as follows: 1) There must be an identification of the person claiming misappropriation of his or her identity; and 2) the appropriation must involve a tortious use of a person’s name or likeness. Lara has both elements here.

    Lara may recover money damages, “measured by the value of defendant’s unjust enrichment.” Dorsaneo, Texas Litigation Guide § 335.06. Exemplary damages may also be available. Interesting, in Texas (and most of the U.S.), invasion of privacy for misappropriation is viewed as a property interest, hence the “value of unjust enrichment” language.

    @Patchmonkey regarding the “horrid tort caps in Texas.” The Texas Tort Reform Act has a lot of major problems, and I agree that it is a “horrid” statute. But, it does not limit the recovery of damages in an intentional tort, and does not even come into play in this case.

    @those who are advocating criminal action, I don’t believe that action will succeed, but I’m not a criminal expert. My understanding on child porn law is that because Lara herself is not pictured in a sexual act, it is not technically child pornography. However, like I mentioned, my knowledge of the law in the area of child pornography law is limited.

    Regarding Lara’s attempts to retain a lawyer in Texas. As mentioned in the facts, Lara states the lawyers she has spoken with require a £50,000 retainer. I have a feeling there is more to the story here. The attorney(s) must have stated a reason for the high retainer fee. Someone mentioned the low amount of damages. This is a reason not take a case-but only if the attorney is working on a contingency basis. There are plenty of attorneys in Texas who work at an hourly rate.

    I suspect the high retainer requirement has to do with an arm’s length relationship with an overseas, minor-age client. Like everyone else, lawyers are susceptible to online scams and are hesitant about taking on an unknown individual client residing in another nation. But again, that’s just a guess.

    I enjoyed the Texas Young Lawyers comment, but I don’t think this story is newsworthy enough for an attorney to pick up on the cheap. I recommend starting with the county bar association in the county in which this company is located. Or use a service such as findlaw.com. Find a member who does personal injury or tort law (that won’t be hard). I prefer to deal with smaller firms and solo people because fees are usually lower, but that’s a personal preference. If the lawyer won’t take the case, ask the lawyer for a referral. You should find someone willing to take it soon. If not, there’s an unknown issue here.

    Best of luck, Lara. Not all of us Texans are scumbags like company (just a high percentage of us).

  31. faust1200 says:

    I think “Body Magic” would look better with TKO’s ‘punched underwear’ photo.

  32. Gloria says:

    On the upside, pretty great shot, Lara!

  33. lilmiscantberong says:

    Grins

  34. thejbs says:

    As a photographer, I have the following input:

    There are 2 issues: 1) as the photographer and creator of the copyrigthed work, she would be entitled to damages based on the market value of the photography and the revenues it helped earn for the porno guys.

    2) as the subject of the photo, she never agreed to have her image associated with a porno film – that would be a whole separate invasion of privacy issue.

    *** and if she won these claims in a court, the defendant could be responsible fo all of HER legal fees.

    Her mistake was in contacting the slob directly, she should have written a formal letter through a lawyer to begin with, threatening legal action, which may have been resolved with a monetarty settlement.

    With his ALL CAPS and horrible grammar, he’s trying to blow her off, although the response could be a clear admission of guilt.

  35. thejbs says:

    plus these things are selling at $25 a pop, x 1000 or even 10,000, thats alot of money. The image used on the cover is the most valueable piece of artwork for something like this. The license to use an image as advertisement such as this would be worth at least $5,000, depending on the amount duplicated.

  36. Black Bellamy says:

    the dude is going to claim he lost money on the dvd and then whaddya gonna do? what value? how can you prove he made any money on it? subpoena his altered and crooked paperwork?

    if sony did this then it could be actionable but chasing down some pornographer in texas who probably lives in a PO box seems seems chancy at best, especially from overseas.

    she should probably write this one off.

  37. Elvisisdead says:

    I can give you a referral for an attorney in the Dallas area that may take the case, but on an hourly rate. If you’re interested, post up, and I can pass the info and referral along to Consumerist staff.

  38. superlayne says:

    @wonderskunk: If you have a parent’s permission, you can join.

    I’m right next to Texas. I might make a few calls, this is just sick.

  39. thejbs says:

    @Black Bellamy: Porn is a very lucrative industry, people are in it to make money.

    A quick search on google shows a very conservative Forbes article valueing adult video sales alone at up to 1.8 BILLION annually.

  40. BareFeet says:

    Yeah, uh, first comes the criminal trial, and then comes the civil suit. First they use a minor’s likeness to market pornography, then they send her what may be the most self-incriminating email of all time. Dorks.

  41. thejbs says:

    Plus I think in a court, she would not have to prove how much money was made by TVX to put a value of the work and its misuse.

  42. MariSama44 says:

    I really hope this gets resolved fairly. I’m an artist myself on DA and I’ve had my art stolen a couple of times…thankfully, not for selling purposes. but its still very painful, and alot of people dont seem to care enough to give you a fair break and not charge an obscene amount of money to defend it. I’m surprised no one will take the case, then again…lawyers are scum. I really wish more people were aware of art theft and more pissed about it.

  43. wonderskunk says:

    @superlayne: I don’t see that anywhere in deviantART’s terms of service. I do however see, as I quoted above. ” In no event may minors submit Content to the Service”. But that does raise an interesting question. Where the heck were her parents when fourteen year old Lara was creating this evocative picture and why did they consent to her posting it? ( Rhetorical question.) I think Lara had way too much unsupervised time on her hands.

  44. Gopher bond says:

    My wife

  45. Gopher bond says:

    was upset one day asking why I don’t post photos of the kids on the internet like I post all the other photos. I said, Perverts.

  46. spanky says:

    @Black Bellamy:

    She should be asking for compensation for use of her work, not a portion of the proceeds. (And anything else she can get out of them, too.)

    In any case, I do think it’s important to nip this kind of thing in the bud. It’s getting all too common, and the only way to really stop it is to go after every single person who is doing it, and make them pay. A lot of us benefit from creators licensing their work free for non-commercial purposes. If we capitulate to those who abuse the availability and violate those licensing terms, none of us will have those options anymore. (I still believe that spam could have been curtailed back in the day if so many people hadn’t thrown up their hands and given up.)

  47. Benny Gesserit says:

    On the other hand, the obviously illiterate pornographer coined a perfectly good new word: “compsensation”! Short for “sensational compensation”? I’m liking it!

  48. thejbs says:

    @wonderskunk: If you go to Lara’s page at deviant art you will see that she is a very talented artist, beyond her years and creating very mature, thoughtful (and non-slutty) images.

    Your “where are the parents” argument has no relevance. I would bet that they are supportive of her creativity, she’s creating work beyond many adult professionals.

  49. biggeek says:

    File this under “Being a teenage internet attention whore isn’t always consequence-free.”

  50. wonderskunk says:

    @thejbs: But that makes her parents’ supervision more necessary, not less. She is seventeen now and clearly very talented. But if , as others have argued here, a fourteen year old just can’t fully grasp the potential repercussions of what they post for all to see and access on the web, then the parents definitely need to stay aware of what she is posting and advise her against posting some of them online. At least when she’s only fourteen. A fourteen year old can be very worldly in some ways and completely out of her depth in others.

  51. mr.dandy says:

    Aside from the obvious infringement and underage issues… it’s amazing how unashamed they are of putting a cover on a video that has nothing to do with the contents.

    For that matter, who the heck is still paying for porn these days?

  52. Optimistic Prime says:

    1. How did she find out about this?
    2. Where is that douche Jack Thompson when you really need him?

  53. @biggeek: Hey, can Consumerist start doing Gizmodo-style commenter executions? Please?

  54. ekdikeo says:

    Wow. I’d call the police in that city. It can’t be -legal- for them to have done that. Screw civil suit, file criminal charges.

  55. max andrews says:

    This is a pretty clear-cut defamation case. IANAL and it’s complex because she’s overseas, but I minored in media ethics and there is definitely a legal basis for her to sue. First of all, whenever you publish something of your own online, you are automatically granted copyright, whether you mark it up, post a notice, or not. Just because something is on a web site does not give someone the right to use it any way they want. Secondly, her image DID have a copyright symbol and her name superimposed over her body. The DVD company photoshopped this logo out, showing they clearly disregarded a posted statement of copyright.
    Most importantly from a damages viewpoint is the defamation of character clause that is a fundamental basis of libel. Private citizens (is she a citizen?) have a reasonable expectation not to be exploited. Public figures, such as celebrities or politicians, rarely win libel or slander cases because it’s their job to be under public scrutiny. A private citizen, however, is often favored in a libel case because they have a reasonable right to privacy. Misappropriation of a photograph is a case often won by a private citizen, because it’s blatantly illegal to do so. Let’s say a journalist snapped a photo of a college dtudent walking down the street, without their knowledge or consent. There’s nothing too bad about that, the legal basis comes into question with how it is published. If you take that photo and use it in a story about university drug use, that’s now a libel case and it will be won 99% of the time by the student. If it had been used in a non-defamatory article such as saying that students are looking forward to summer vacation, there is no defamation and therefore no libel suit.
    So it really comes down to whether or not she’s a citizen of the US. These libel laws are fairly common within our borders but I’m sure that protection does not extend past them, the same reason the RIAA can’t sue the pirate bay.

  56. strathmeyer says:

    Is wonderskunk the only one blaming the victim here? Ususally we can get four or five people, why, with all the liberals…

  57. J.T Dabbagian says:

    I don’t know if they would take on a case with a non-US Citizen, but maybe the ACLU or the EFF could lend her a hand or two.

  58. kimdog says:

    This isn’t something the ACLU does… they deal with governmental interference with Bill of Rights issues, not copyright infringement.

  59. Katie says:

    @wonderskunk: DeviantART didn’t introduce their “terms of service” as listed until 2006. She said the photo was from 2004. Even if she wasn’t 18 at the time the photo was uploaded and stolen, there was no breach of contract on her part at that time by using DA to display her work. Moreover, since the age restriction did not exist at that time, there could be no reasonable assumption on the part of the video company that the model was of legal age.

  60. ShadowFalls says:

    She can theoretically demand compensation under the DMCA for which her picture can be considered a protected work. Even though she is not a U.S. citizen, the one who violated her rights was.

  61. wonderskunk says:

    @Katie: I did not know that. I had never heard of deviantART before today. Thank you for the clarification; I stand corrected.

  62. wonderskunk says:

    @strathmeyer: I am absolutely categorically Not blaming Lara Jade. She is clearly an artist whose work was stolen and as such is entitled to compensation. I just think that the whole underage porn angle is disingenuous at best and it would be futile to pursue it legally.
    P.S. If anybody here hasn’t checked out Lara Jade’s pages at deviantART they are well worth a look.

  63. Michael says:

    It brings me great joy to see this website showing indignation at a commercial media enterprise appropriating and using another person’s photos without permission or compensation.

  64. lizzybee says:

    @wonderskunk: I’m assuming you mean “provocative” rather than “evocative.” Of course, “provocative” doesn’t apply to this photo in the slightest.

  65. Gloria says:

    There are people who find this photo risque? Seriously? It’s certainly a bit sensual, but very artfully and elegantly, and this photo is even wittily playful.

    For those who can’t believe she was fourteen at the time, you clearly have not encountered any of today’s teenagers. Many of them look surprisingly mature.

  66. jwissick says:

    Call the Texas BAR associatioin. They can refer you to a lawyer that specialises in the subject. Porn in Tx?? News to me. I thought 95% of it came from the San Fernando Valley in So Cal.

  67. wonderskunk says:

    @lizzybee: No, I did mean evocative. The picture evokes a sexual atmosphere- I mean, come on , those curtains are no accident-but is not in any way sexually explicit.

  68. Uriel says:

    Looks like she needs to start copy-righting her art.

  69. LawyerontheDL says:

    Any attorney is going to need some sort of substantial retainer – the costs alone of this type of case are high and a foreign national who is a minor isn’t exactly the best credit risk. That being said, contacting the Texas Attorney General’s office may work – it may not result in financial gain, but no pornographer likes to have the AG taking a close look at their operations.

  70. bbbalboa says:

    @nerodiavolo:
    At least in the United States, ALL artistic images are automatically copyright to the creator, whether the image is a painting, etching, photograph, etc. You’ll see many internet artists slap a big “copyright” watermark over their image to remind people of this, but they don’t need to for the image to be copyrighted. As long as they can prove they were the original creator (large file-size copies of the image, film negatives, physical media, etc.), then they can certainly take action against anyone stealing the image, especially for profit.

    Don’t know how it works across international boundaries, though.

  71. Crazytree says:

    2257 doesn’t apply if you’re not the “primary producer” of the content.

    @LawyerontheDL: you’re looking at this case backwards. she is not going to be able to cough up any type of retainer, however at least one of these Defendants is going to be a multi-million dollar company with easy-to-find assets. I would hate to be Defense counsel in a case where a PORN COMPANY is being accused of using your UNDERAGE client’s photo without permission. this has “easy settlement” written all over it.

    I would take this on contingency in a heartbeat.

  72. Crazytree says:

    not to mention all the DOE Plaintiffs, potential DOJ involvement, bad press… you’re looking at joint and several liability spread among several tortfeasors.

  73. Kat says:

    Just because she was 14 in the picture, doesn’t mean she’s not over 18 now. She could have joined at 18+ and posted the pic from when she was 14.

  74. Schroeder says:

    @Kat:
    When she states the following on her blog,

    I’m still only 17

    It’s a reasonably sure bet she isn’t over 18 years old currently.

    As for joining up to a pornographic website while still a minor, it’s certainly possible; but some how I don’t buy that a person would post a photograph of a non-pornographic nature, that’s clearly an artistic portrait on a website of a pornographic nature.

    That’s not to say it isn’t possible, but I would consider someone doing it highly unlikely. Pornography tends to tarnish your reputation in a good many fields, so someone who is an amateur or professional photographer doing it, they might as well just bow out as they would do it, lest they ruin potential future work prospects for themselves.

    From my point of view, though, my guts telling me this violates a great deal of laws in the US, and I can’t help but think it skates into child pornography territory in spite of the lack of nudity, considering the association of a minor, who’s image was used without consent, with intent to solicit and distribute at premium sale of pornography materials.

    One could potentially call upon the hounds of hell that protect child exploitation; I am sure they would have a field day over this. Attack the heart.

    I’M SURE BY THE END OF THE MONTH YOUR FACE WILL BE HISTORY.

    That insensitivity is just delicious. It’s like a three course meal.

  75. SexCpotatoes says:

    Her name sounds kinda Porn-star-ish, and I’m suprised there aren’t any guys on here asking her for dates, y’know, after she turns 18.

    But yeah, nail that porn company.

  76. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @Schroeder: Which “pornographic web site” are you referring to? If you are referring to deviantArt, you have obviously not gone to the site and looked past the first few pages (or you let faux news channel do your thinking). (I suppose any site which does not censor user content a la deviantArt or PhotoSig must look ‘pornographic’ to you and Bill O’Reilly. Perhaps the two of you should move to China where you will not have to see such sites.)

    Also, photos, content, or images posted by individuals on the internet on such sites (including Myspace and the like) are AUTOMATICALLY copyrighted by the author unless otherwise specified. So watermark or no, there is NO QUESTION about copyright violation here.

  77. Hoss says:

    I’m just thinking how bizare it is that a friend of a 17 yr old would find an obscure porn video and recognize that the cover has a pic of her…(“hi lara, i wus surfing for porn last nite…and isn’t this you?”)

    Anyway, she’s got quite a talent (judging from her web page)

  78. LawyerontheDL says:

    @Crazytree: Spoken like a total non-lawyer. The film industry in general, and I would imagine even more so with pornography, is full of fly by night companies, so recovery may be difficult, if not impossible. Meanwhile, an attorney taking this on contingency would be shelling out thousands of dollars. You also seem to be under the impression that a PORNOGRAPHER would be worried about press implying that it was other than pure as the driven snow. Threats of negative publicity probably have less effect than usual in this case.

  79. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    i haven’t checked Deviant-Art’s website, but has anyone thought of the possibility of THEM now being the owner of this picture as opposed to the person who took it? Sort of like how when you upload a video to You-Tube it becomes their property?

    In that case, wouldn’t THEY have to get involved here?

    Just curious.

  80. JaneyDoesky says:

    You people are grossly misinformed about 18 USC 2257. While it refers to the age of the model and record-keeping requirements, it also deals with sexually explicit content per 18 USC 2256. There are no naked breasts or any other body parts showing so therefore the content is exempt.

    2257 does pertain to secondary producers as of right now. See Gonzalez v. Free Speech Coalition for ongoing litigation.

    It’s a question of copyright infringement. Judges are awarding a lot of money for willful infringement which this appears to be.

    PLEASE don’t judge the entire adult industry over the words of one pathetic moron with no brains or morals. Not all of us are in the same league with him and almost all of us, I’d say, think he’s a disgusting pig for using stolen content.

    There are several highly qualified adult industry attorneys who would, most likely, be happy to take on this case.

  81. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Sorry for getting a little carried away here (posted before coffee). The TOS at deviantArt gives them (limited) rights, but ownership is retained by the originator.

    Plus this would also fall under right of privacy statutes in many states where your likeness may not be used by another for any business purpose without your express permission.

    Let’s make sure to place the blame where it belongs…with TVX “films”

  82. lestat730 says:

    This is just so wrong, it actually makes me feel a little sick. Seems like theres a ton of people these days who think it’s perfectly ok to scour the internet for a good picture to use on their products. They either believe that anything found online is free or they just don’t think they’ll get caught. Professional photographers and graphic designers need need to showcase their work somewhere online in order to get noticed. The only thing you can really do is show low resolution copies of the work with a watermark and hope that it’s enough to stop most thieves. Unfortunately it doesn’t take a genius to use a program like Photoshop to erase watermarks and the chances are actually pretty good the artist will never know their copyright has been violated. I really feel for this girl and wish there was something I could do to help her cause, hopefully this story will at least get the publicity it deserves.

  83. roguepixie says:

    It turns out Nescafe Taster’s Choice stole the image of the guy on their logo without permission. Anybody remember this story? He got millions.

  84. Crazytree says:

    @LawyerontheDL:

    I’m a Plaintiff’s attorney in Los Angeles, and a pretty good one at that. Or at least that’s what I’ve been told by my colleagues that I have litigated with.

    Your analysis is poor and you have little grasp of the facts. Hustler AKA Flynt Publishing has a very large facility at the intersection of Wilshire & La Cienega here in LA that I drive by almost daily on the way to my office.

    Your knowledge of the very delicate balance that exists between the LA porn industry and Deborah Yang, the United States Attorney for the Central District of California. Go look it up and educate yourself about DOJ intervention and prosecutions against this industry in the wake of John Ashcroft’s directives targeting the industry.

    It is abundantly clear to me that your opinions are worthless, and your assertion that you somehow know what you are talking about because you claim to be a lawyer is laughable. Both of us know how many worthless lawyers are cranked out every year in this country.

  85. Crazytree says:

    @LawyerontheDL: Insurance defense? No wonder.

  86. TechnoDestructo says:

    Reminds me of this teenage girl from Finland over whose pics half of 4chan was masturbating for a while about a month ago.

    She wasn’t happy about that.

  87. JustThisGuy says:

    @Crazytree and LawyerontheDL:

    ooh, internets lawyer scuffle! I’m not going to doubt your respective credentials (as I have no real reason to), but please make sure to use many technical terms and strange code numbers in your next several responses. Penal codes make me HOTTT.

    also: pix plz k thx

  88. Schroeder says:

    Hmm, seems I got a message after I went to bed. Well, if you’re still out there Doctor Cos; this one goes out to you!

    @doctor_cos:

    Which “pornographic web site” are you referring to? If you are referring to deviantArt, you have obviously not gone to the site and looked past the first few pages […]

    No, I know what DeviantArt is; hell I have my own account which I post to now and again.

    I was replying to Kat (#c1546919), who was making the argument about the photo’s creator having gone and posted it to a pornographic website. So, I decided it would be appropriate to dispute this claim as reasonably as possible. The success of my attempt not withstanding, my meaning wasn’t to call DeviantArt a porno website, at all. lol.

    As for “which” in general, I don’t know. That’s a question you should ask Kat, who initially posed the argument to begin with. Bwahahaha.

    Let’s make sure to place the blame where it belongs…with TVX “films”

    Here here!

    @Crazytree:
    You know what would be awesome? As a Plaintiff’s Attorney, rather than fighting with those in the attorney game; provide some actual knowledge to refute the claims of the other that you state is lower in acumen than yourself in this case.

    It could probably help “Lara” gain a little perspective on the matter to boot. And god knows, she could probably use some right now.

  89. Carson Daly says:

    This is bullshit. I’m not a lawyer, but I watch People’s Court sometimes (meh, it helps with the “basics”). I would be willing to play lawyer for Lara to get this resolved.

    Sleazy Porno Guy’s response was so nasty — I’m willing to bet he was “on something” when he pounded his filthy fists on the keyboard.

    And in response to a comment up there, there’s nothing out of the ordinary for teenagers to have photos online. She did NOTHING wrong.

  90. palaste says:

    @lilmiscantberong: Isn’t taking someone’s DeviantArt picture and putting it on the cover of a film without their permission a copyright violation, despite the model’s age and the film’s content?

  91. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @Schroeder: My apologies, I was defending deviantArt as I enjoy the site and the rest of my art (uncensored).

    And finally @palaste: has cut to the meat of the argument.

  92. s00p3rm4n says:

    @lilmiscantberong: Is that your motto for women who get raped?

    @palaste: Yes, it’s that too.

  93. Squegie says:

    Originally, her image had a watermark/copyright notice on it. It was of course removed for the DVD cover. I can’t find the original image currently (I believe it was the imageshack image that was removed due to high bandwidth), but she mentions it in the description.

    Essentially, the image was not only blatantly copyrighted, but was then altered without the author’s permission. For all of those comments above that say “now you’ll think twice before posting pictures online”, I’d say that she did all the necessary, possible, steps to prevent other people from using her art.

  94. ukexpat says:

    What the heck is a “house whole” name???

  95. Schroeder says:

    @doctor_cos:
    No harm no foul. DeviantArt isn’t a bad website, I enjoy posting my own work there now and again and I know other people who use it. I don’t use it that often, since my work is generally an “when I am inspired” basis, but it’s great for when I have work to put up, and worth defending.

    @ukexpat:
    It’s the amusing effect of giving a person with only a third grade education the ability to read letters sent to him. I am kind of surprised the individual can read at all, at this rate.

  96. synergy says:

    She’s still not 18, so if the 18+ didn’t used to be part of the TOS, is she grandfathered in or still in violation of their registration terms?

    Minor or adults, as long as I’ve been on the Internets, 10+ years, I’ve always known that anything on the internet not behind some sort of password or access lock has no expectation of privacy.

    I see she had some sort of marking on the pic, but still. You have to know that people will steal them anyway. Good reason I try not to ever give my real name or upload pics of me “unlocked.” Kudos to the guy above who doesn’t upload his kids pics. Although some places like Flickr which Consumerist uses does allow for uploading and filter locking pics. Then you can select who gets access to them.

  97. @All Who Think She Doesn’t Look 14:

    Yes she does.
    I’m surprised she can’t find a lawyer who would take this on.

    The people who did this are going to the Special Hell.

  98. Curiosity says:

    This is not legal advice, just a few musing from a law student. Honestly, she needs to see a lawyer who is not interested in just their pocket book. Has she tried the U.S. Embassy? Given that it seems obvious that there are certian routes that could be profitable, that are obvious even to a law student (who may know nothing).
    It is somewhat irrelevant that she is a minor posting on the site, while it could violate the TOS, a contract. The TOS is not the issue since it doesn’t govern any sort or relationship she has with the pornographer. It might bear upon her trustworthiness as a witness, but I assume that there is no contract between her and the infringer that would be valid since there may be an inability of her to give consent (obviously there are exceptions) to such a contract anyway being a minor.
    There are a few issues that she should look into:
    1) Criminal Law – This seems to be both a state issue and a federal issue. This is good news since if you can find an applicable law about Minors and pornography in ANY state that the corporation sells their videos you may be able to get the state attorney to go after them. The question is really “are your innocent sons and daughters pictures being turned into child pornography?” which the consumerist has dead on. Moreover the interstate commerce clause would help make this a federal crime, you could contact the FBI. Obviously there are issues with the victim being a foriegner, but would help in any tort case later.
    2) Tort Law – seems like there are quite a bit of Tort claims and this is generally state specific where a victim can sue but it has to be by the state’s laws and the jurisdiction of that state. Some questions you may want to ask are what tort applies? (seems like a privacy issue of “False Light in the public eye” or “Missappropiation” a.k.a. “appropiation-publicity tort”) What type of business the porn company is? (this determines who is liable) and most importantly if there is a conflicts of law question.
    3) Intellectual Property – The rights and remedies depend on where was this picture used. Only on the DVD? Advertised on the Internet? etc. If internationally availible, there may be a remedy overseas in any of these areas. However there are other international bodies that take an interest in intellectual property infringment.

    Generally, a work is in the public domain if it was published:

    By the federal government, at any time.
    Between 1964-1977 without a copyright notice.
    Between 1923-1963 with a copyright notice, if the copyright was not renewed when the initial term expired.
    Between 1923-1963 without a copyright notice.
    Before 1923.

    A U.S. work has copyright protection if it was published – From 1978 – on; Between 1964-1977 with a copyright notice; Between 1923-1963 with a copyright notice, if the copyright was renewed.

    If you don’t have permission, you’re infringing.

    These are just general comments, find a lawyer who can help preferrably for free (I would look to the criminal law).

    Moreover, realize advice given by people who are on here probably shouldn’t be taken seriously, after all a well expressed opinion can just be full of it – Find a lawyer.

    Criticisms are welcome.

  99. Jerim says:

    Instead of getting a personal lawyer, she should contact the Attorney General of Texas and since she is in another country, perhaps the US Attorney General. There is no telling what kind of copyright laws were broken here. She should quit looking at it as her picture on a porn box, and more of a business situation where her image was used to sell a product. That takes if from a personal situation into a more serious business problem.

    I can see why a lawyer would be hesitant about dealing with someone outside the US, let alone a 17 year old. The logistics of meeting face to face, and assuring payment are problematic. What if the lawyer takes the case on little to no money, does all the work and then you don’t pay? Then that lawyer has to traverse the foreign legal system to sue you personally. Big hassle.

    Lastly, it is not like her face is recognizable in that picture. If she hadn’t made an issue of it, no one would ever know, outside of a few people who might have stumbled across both her pictures and the porn box. Yeah it sucks, but it isn’t THAT big a deal. The company has already agreed to stop and unless it sold tons of copies, which is very unlikely, there won’t be much money to go after. But perhaps being 17, she feels that the world revolves around her. Welcome to life.

  100. nidolke says:

    What can I say that hasn’t already been said. But, it should give her a lil’ self-esteem boost in regards to her photography skills that some company thought her work was good enough for cover-use, and without any major alterations either.

    Of course the company should get all that’s coming to them, what with using a 14 year old on their cover, using it without permission, etc.

    My favorite part of the president response was the “well we’re glad you want us to take the picture off, your ugly face wasn’t selling dvds anyway! so there!” Comedy.

  101. Trackback says:

    Mired in column and book deadlines, and a massive upcoming post about Maker Faire, posts will be a bit sparse for a few days.

  102. arachnophilia says:

    @wonderskunk:

    i’ve been a member of deviantart for a few years, and that “no minors” policy is not something i remember — must be a recent change. i can remember a number of controversies over material that might be seen by minors. and i certainly remember a time when MOST of the members there seemed to be underage. (and if i saw another furry, i was going to stab my eyes out)

    frankly, i’ve seen so many things get stolen from deviantart that this doesn’t surprise me in the least. it’s too high profile.

    just one more reason to get rid of my account, i guess.

  103. kingoman says:

    “HOUSE WHOLE NAME”?? This guy is a CEO?

    Lara should end up owning this company when it’s all over.

  104. Trackback says:

    Regular readers will remember a few months back when the Lara Jade scandal erupted. I wasn’t the first one to write about the porn company that used one of her self-portraits (taken when she was 14) to sell re-packaged “classic” porn (and her plea for help on Flickr), but I did write a fairly…