An 18-year-old English photography student was stunned when she discovered a picture of herself on the cover of a pornographic movie last year.
Lara Jade Coton learned from a visitor to her photography Web site that the image, a self-portrait she took at age 14, was on the cover of Body Magic, a hard-core porn by TVX Films.
Coton's attorney, Richard A. Harrison of Tampa, filed a lawsuit in Tampa's U.S. District Court, accusing Bob Burge, president of Nevada's TVX Films, and his company for a list of legal violations including copyright infringement, civil conspiracy, misappropriation of her image, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Almost as soon as Coton learned about the picture, she contacted Burge by e-mail on Jan. 29, according to the lawsuit.
"I am absolutely disgusted that you've used my artwork for such a subject," she wrote. "I was fourteen at the time the picture was taken and I had no clue until today that you were using it in such a way."
Burge responded a few days later that he was looking into the matter. Because only a couple of hundred DVDs had been sold, he wrote, according to the suit, "the picture is of little importance."
When Jade requested compensation for the company's unauthorized use of her picture, Burge declined, arguing that the Internet is public domain and calling her demand "scheming."
"Nice try toots," the Feb. 2 e-mail said, according to the complaint.