A Metairie Louisiana couple is suing Jessica Simpson and OK magazine for using a photograph on its April 2012 cover of Simpson holding their child at a Metairie, La., shopping mall. Parents of the child are contending that the magazine is using the photo “in such a way as to suggest the child was hers, according to a lawsuit the couple has filed,” says this The Times-Picayune story.
According to the story, the couple “. . . asserts an invasion of privacy and emotional distress caused by the celebrity news magazine, which boasts a weekly circulation of 4.5 million and a website that attracts more than 7.3 million views per month. The couple is seeking damages that appear to be no more than $75,000.”
According to the T-P story the couple essentially contends that they were unaware the photo would be used in the magazine. However, I’m failing to understand how this doesn’t come under editorial use, which negates a need for a model release. The couple literally handed the child to Simpson who was photographed by “the person thought to have taken the photo, Kevin Mazur.” Seems like the lawsuit would have actually named the photographer but I haven’t read the suit. And a shopping mall doesn’t seem like the place where anyone would have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy.
And why is Simpson named in the suit? She doesn’t edit the magazine. She doesn’t select photos for the magazine’s cover. If she simply held someone’s baby while a photographer took a photograph, it falls way short of complicity. The suit does name Getty Images and the magazine’s publishing company, American Media Inc.
Typically, pressers are run-and-gun affairs and my time with Ms. Acker was no different.
I had 48 minutes on my parking meter because as anyone who’s unfortunate enough to live or work or shop in downtown Dallas knows, there is NO on-street parking. It’s all been given over to restaurant valet services. Clearly, Downtown Dallas, like it’s younger, more hipster-driven (if that’s possible) sibling, Uptown, doesn’t want ANYONE parking on its streets.
So, after a two-block dash to the Hotel Joule I meet up with my editor, Mark Lowry, publisher of www.theaterjones.com in the lobby. We’re here to photograph and interview Dallas-raised actress, Amy Acker, who is cast as Beatrice in Joss Whedon’s new spin-up of Much Ado About Nothing. Ten minutes later we’re greeted by Carole Smith who asks us if the pool deck will work for photos. I say, “Absolutely.” It’s overcast and I’ve been on the pool deck before, so I figure nobody’s gonna be sunning and we’ll have some space and privacy.
Carole escorts us to the deck and runs to fetch Ms. Acker. Meanwhile I start looking for the right place and the right light to photograph Ms. Acker. The overcast sky is actually working in my favor by creating a soft, low contrast light on the deck. Had the sun been shining I’d have skipped the deck and opted for any available window light.
Ms. Acker shows up and she’s like, waaaay pretty: Great hair, great skin, beautiful eyes. All that translates into a great subject. We shake hands and I shoot her sitting, standing and in about three minutes I’m done. I comment, “I think you’ve done this before,” and she smiles and says, “Yep, a few times.” Turns out that in addition to her acting career, Ms. Acker modeled while in college and was in the 1999 J. Crew catalog.
I thanked her and Carole and beat it back to my car with six minutes left on the meter. I sped west, toward home and the land of ample parking.