Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Woody Allen sues American Apparel for using his likeness in advertising

Last year in Ethics Follies, our good friend Heloise acted in a scene where an air freshner ad misappropriated her likeness to increase sales. American Apparel takes a page right out of last year's Follies script and uses another famous face without permission.

March 31st, 2008 by Scott Marks

"Woody Allen was in federal court today looking to put a dent in American Apparel’s profit margin to the tune of $10 million claiming the clothing manufacturer illegally used his image in an internet and billboard advertising campaign.
According to Variety, the lawsuit contended Allen was not contacted by the company and did not give permission for them to the use his likeness and accuses American Apparel of “blatant misappropriation and commercial use of Allen’s image.” It goes on to say the billboard falsely implied that Allen sponsored, endorsed or was associated with American Apparel, said the lawsuit, which seeks at least $10 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages.
The picture of Rebbe Woody is a frame blow up from Annie Hall. In the film Woody fantasizes how he must look in the eyes of his girlfriend’s Jew-hating Grammy. The Yiddish text on the billboard translates into “the Holy Rebbe.”
The lawsuit describes Woody as among the most influential figures in the history of American film and a man who has maintained strict control over the projects with which he is associated. Woody appeared in a lot of American advertising campaigns in the 60s, most notably a series of Smirnoff vodka ads, but hasn’t been a pitchman for products or services in the United States in decades."

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