An actress named by a men’s magazine as one of the 100 most attractive women of 2014 is suing Ricoh Americas Corp. for allegedly using her image to promote one of its cameras without her permission.
Melanie Specht filed the lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, also naming photographer Alex Munoz and videographer Gabriel Mann. Her allegations include misappropriation of likeness and fraud. She seeks unspecified damages and a declaration from the court finding that the defendants did not have permission to use Specht’s image for commercial purposes.
A Ricoh representative did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
According to the complaint, Specht took part in a series of photo shoots last year in which Munoz and members of the actress’ public relations team agreed that all images he took of her would be used to promote her image. Munoz was told he could use the photos in his personal portfolio, but that he would need a separate agreement to use them for commercial purposes.
“Ms. Specht did not sign any agreements related to the future licensing of her image for any other purposes,” the suit states.
The three photo shoots took place in May with Munoz as the photographer and Mann as the videographer, according to the lawsuit.
However, Munoz refused to provide the photos to Specht and her public relations staff and later licensed her image to Ricoh in connection with its Pentax 645z camera, the suit states. Ads for the camera containing Specht’s image began appearing online on multiple websites, including those of Munoz and Ricoh, the suit states.
Despite receiving a letter from Specht’s attorneys in November demanding that they stop using her image, Ricoh continues to use it in online ads for their camera, the suit alleges.
Men’s Health magazine listed Specht in its list of 100 “hottest women” of 2014. Her film credits include “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
— City News Service