Paris Hilton not amused by "Vacant" billboard's truth in advertising + Toyotas flickr-pillaging

Paris Hilton VACANT copyright Lathkill96

Paris not laughing at 'vacant' Kiwi billboards

Paris Hilton is not amused. The American hotel heiress is upset a photo of her is being used to advertise vacant billboard space in Auckland.
The photo, which shows Hilton partying, has the word "vacant" written in giant-sized lettering across it.
Hilton's Los Angeles-based manager Jamie Freed said Wellington billboard company, Media5, had no permission to use Hilton's image, and they could expect to hear from Hilton's lawyers.

We can all have a giggle at what superfish says: "I love how Paris Hilton's own manager doesn't even try to dispute the content of the billboard and sticks solely with the legal aspects. He's paid to make his client look awesome no matter what, yet saw this and went "Aw, shit, they got us."
If we stop snickering for a moment, we know how well that American Apparel billboard using Woody Allen went, it cost AA a pretty penny and the news was written up around the world for several months.. Oh wait, that looks like a plan.

In all seriousness, what is going on photography in advertising lately? Did all the educated art buyers get fired? (and by educated I mean those who are aware of the legalities of using celebrities and rights issues). Take for example the recent storm over Toyota's Flickr-pillaging that adgrunt LeslieBAP has been talking about, directing me to Brandsanatomy and "The bigger the company, the bigger the blunder". Long story short, Toyota used images found on Flickr* on their new 4-runner website but forgot to do the whole rights dance. When the photographers found their images on the site, and got Toyotas attention via Twitter. @Toyota finally responded with

@calanan @Photo_John @stuartzero We're currently pulling the photos and will be in contact with each photography who was represented

Brandsanatomy says: "This is why your company needs an experienced marketer on staff. Real marketing directors have an understanding of intellectual property laws. Photographs, fonts, illustrations, and other design elements found online are not free for you to use, especially for commercial purposes."

I might add, another reason you need people with experience is that they probably won't misspell a tweet, further annoying the people they are meant to calm.

Devaluation, this constant strive to beancount and get things for cheap (or free) is causing this along with inexperience and a general muddling of people knowledge of rights, model rights and advertising law. Seems to me (and Leslie) that in the hunt for corners to cut someone skipped the Art Buyer/producer (or hired one that had no IP training) and went straight to production. Costly mistake in the end, please remember that dear beancounters. Job positions are not like appendixes, people actually fulfill needed tasks.

* Note to everyone. Just because an image is on Flickr does not make it automatically free-for-all CC-heaven. It might make it a CC-Licensed image, but even then you need to read and understand what license it is before using them in the manner allowed by said license.

Photograph of Paris Hilton Billboard taken by Lathkill96 at Flickr, all rights reserved.