Virgin uses CC licenced Flickr photo in ad campaign, forgets model release, gets sued.

Dallas family sues Virgin Mobile over ad:

The lawsuit names Virgin Mobile USA, its Australian counterpart, and Creative Commons Corp., a Massachusetts nonprofit that licenses sharing of Flickr photos, as defendants.

The picture of 16-year-old Chang flashing a peace sign was taken at an April church carwash by Alison's youth counselor, who posted it on his Flickr page, according to Alison's brother, Damon. In the ad, Virgin Mobile printed one of its campaign slogans, "Dump your pen friend," over the picture.

The ad also says "Free text virgin to virgin" at the bottom.

The experience damaged Alison's reputation and exposed her to ridicule from her peers and scrutiny from people who can now Google her, the family charged in the lawsuit.

"It's the tag line; it's derogatory," said Damon Chang, 27. "A lot of her church friends saw it."

Ok, forget for a moment that Damon seems to think a headline is a tagline, the creative commons licence used simply asks for attribution, which the ad has in regards to the photo. They forgot that models used in advertising must sign a release as well.

You can see the Virgin Flickr photo poster ad here, and the discussion underneath that seems to be where Alison Chang found out that she was the model of an advertising campaign, and the original flickr photo is here which also has some heated comments. Love the off the chart ones like "and lastly, if you don't trust your friends to use the proper restrictions on photos of you, then don't pose for photos for them".. Yeah, uh, that'll help. There are already laws and rules in place, lets just quit breaking them shall we? How's that for an idea?

In the Flickr discussion forums, a thread called Virgin Mobile advertising campaign using Flickr photos already back the 29th of June. See Duncans TV adland for more images of posters in the campaign itself. It's hit all the major papers in Australia including The Age. In each article Damon Chang points to the 'derogatory' line as a reason to sue, which I'm fairly sure is some sort of journalistic misquote to hang the story on. Lets just get the idea properly explained shall we? The V-sign happy gal has dumped her pen friend because she can now text friends for free. Got it? There's the funny. Pen friend is now phone friend. Hardy-har-har. Still, Virgin should have had a model release anyway and should get sued for that alone - not for any perceived derogatoryness-ness. Bah, you know what I mean.

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Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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