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The provision of N.Y. Civ. Rights Law § 50 with regard to use of a person's name, portrait, or picture for advertising purposes is to be construed liberally.
Respondent publisher Universal Photo Books Inc., utilized pictures of the appellant actress Carol L. Selsman focusing a particular brand of camera in a manual, which extolled the virtues of the particular brand of camera. The appellant actress sought to recover damages under N.Y. Civ. Rights Law §§ 50 and 51, based on her claim that respondent used her likeness and name for advertising purposes without her consent. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment filed on behalf of the appellant actress. Appellant filed an appeal.
Was the denial of the appellant’s action under sections 50 and 51 of the Civil Rights Law proper?
On review, the court reversed the judgment of the trial court. The court held that the appellant was entitled to prevail on her motion for summary judgment since the purpose of the manual was to advertise the particular brand of camera. Furthermore, the court concluded that the respondent failed to obtain the appellant's consent prior to using her likeness and name in connection with the advertising. Thus, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the appellant and directed an assessment of damages as to the respondent.