Former 1950's model Gita Hall May, now 79, has sued Lionsgate Entertainment over the use of her image without her consent during the opening credits of Mad Men, the award-winning TV show. May claims that her face appears on a New York skyscraper and that the image used is a cropped version of an image of her taken from a 1950s Revlon advert shot by the well-known Richard Avedon.
Although May does not actually own the photograph, she seeks to rely on the right to her likeness in claiming compensation from the show's producers. She further claims that such use is in breach of her common law privacy rights, a misuse of her right of publicity for commercial purposes, a false advertisement and a breach of competition law. She claims to be entitled to revenues generated by the show, on the basis that the use of her image contributed to its profits. Despite Mad Men winning an Emmy for its opening credits, its producers are refusing to compensate May.
It will be interesting to see how the Los Angeles Superior Court rules on this one - we'll be sure to keep you posted.