5:05pm PT by Matthew Belloni
Hilary Swank Sues Over Unauthorized Photo in Advertisements
Actress Hilary Swank is joining the growing ranks of celebrities suing to protect the value of their name and likeness. The double Oscar winner has filed a lawsuit against a home-audio company that allegedly used her photos in an unauthorized promotion on its website.
According to the complaint, filed May 10 in Los Angeles Superior Court and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Swank's image and name was used in promo materials for Robert's Home Audio and Video, doing business in Los Angeles. The company, as well as its proprietor Randall Cordero and Cordero Studios, are defendants.
"Defendants did not ask for or receive Ms. Swank's permission to use her photograph, identity or persona in the advertisements or otherwise to associate with Defendats' companies or to market Defendants' commercial products or services," the complaint states.
The suit comes days after THR reported that George Clooney and Julia Roberts had together sued an audiovisual equipment retailer for using their photos in connection with marketing its products. Most states, including California, now afford public figures the right to control the use and exploitation of the names and likenesses.
Swank, represented by Charles Harder at L.A.'s Wolf Rifkin firm, alleges causes of action for misappropriation of right of publicity/privacy and negligence. She seeks unspecified damages.
We've reached out to the defendants for comment and will update with a response.
UPDATE The company's Robert Eidel tells us he took down the offending image from the website. He disputes that the image was used in an "advertisement." " We never tried to profit from this," he says."