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Darlene Love claims HGTV used her singing voice for holiday promotions without permission, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in California federal court.
Love says she sang “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on Late Night With David Letterman’s holiday shows for nearly three decades, and Scripps Networks tried to appropriate her goodwill to advertise HGTV’s programming.
“Love was deprived of the right to control the use of her identity in connection with the advertising of goods and services and was damaged in an amount in excess of $75,000.00 for the loss of the fees she had a right to charge as a condition of her identity and goodwill being used to induce the public to watch HGTV’s programming,” states the complaint.
Love says it’s no accident the network chose her singing voice for multiple commercials and it was aware her performance is protected by an AFTRA collective bargaining agreement referred to as the “Phono Code.”
By bypassing the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract, Scripps deprived Love of union protection and compensation, the suit claims.
The singer is suing Scripps for infringement of the common law right of publicity and is seeking exemplary damages of no less than $75,000.
Earlier this year, Love filed a similar suit against Google. She claims the internet giant used her singing voice in a Nexus smartphone ad. That suit was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice in April.
Both complaints say defendants turned her into “an involuntary pitchman” for products/programs “of dubious quality.”
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