Thursday, March 10, 2005

Beautiful, Just Beautiful: USANext gets sued

Remember that reprehensible ad where USANext was accusing the AARP of hating soldiers and supporting gay marriage? Well, the gay couple featured in that ad (without their consent) decided to strike back, and it looks like they have a case!

You can get the whole story at Americablog.

BREAKING NEWS: Judge grants Temporary Restraining Order against USA Next in anti-gay anti-AARP ad lawsuit
by John in DC - 3/10/2005 07:08:00 PM

UPDATE: You can find key legal documents in this case online here.

There was news today in the $25 million lawsuit of a gay couple whose image was stolen by USA Next and used in a high-profile ad campaign attacking the AARP’s position on social security legislation.

In Washington, DC today, US District Judge Reggie Walton (an appointee of President Bush (41)) granted the gay couple’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against USA Next. The TRO requires USA Next to cease and desist from further use of the couple's photos for any purpose. This is a big deal because it means the judge has found that the guys have reasonable likelihood of winning their case, and he also said he could see how they could get damages.

Basically, the couple’s lawyer, Christopher Wolf (counsel with Proskauer Rose, LLP), argued that a TRO was necessary to stop USA Next from using the couple’s image for additional ads. USA Next’s lawyer would not promise that the image wouldn’t be used again. And USA Next’s ad consultant even said in an AP story last night that the gay couple was to blame for getting married!

USA Next’s lawyer, Robert Sparks, argued that there was no indication that the couple would be irreparably harmed if the TRO wasn’t granted (that’s part of the requirement for granting one).

Wolf responded that had USA Next come to the couple in advance, and offered them money in exchange for the couple signing a model’s release so their image could be used in this hateful campaign, the couple would have said NO, there’s NO amount of money you could offer. Thus, the damage from USANext running the ad again was incalculable – there is NO amount of money that could compensate them adequately as no amount of money would have led them to cooperate in the first place.

The first sign of trouble for USA Next, in my opinion, was when the judge said today “I can see how they [the couple] may be entitled to damages for the misappropriation of their images.”

Posted by crimnos @ 7:41 PM