Advertising Law

Woman sues after her photo is juxtaposed with 'I am positive' in HIV awareness ad


A “mortified” Brooklyn woman has sued a stock-photo house after a portrait of her from a 2011 photo shoot ended up in an HIV rights awareness advertisement with the tagline: “I am positive. I have rights.”

Erin Lloyd, the plaintiff’s lawyer, told the New York Daily News that her client, Avril Nolan, was “mortified.” Nolan said in her suit that she was forced to have awkward conversations with her employer, friends and “potential romantic partners” after she learned about the New York State Division of Human Rights ad after its publication. Her suit asks for $450,000 in damages.

The Division of Human Rights did not respond to the Daily News’ request for comment.

Jena Cumbo, who took the photo, told the Daily News that she misunderstood her contract with Getty. Lloyd said Nolan never signed a waiver authorizing Cumbo to sell images of her to a third party.

Getty images provided the following statement to the ABA Journal: “We empathize with and understand the sensitivity of Avril Nolan’s situation. Getty Images had a model release and relied upon the photographer’s documentation when we made the image available for license.”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Mom Sues After Stock Photo of Her Daughter Is Used on Anti-Abortion Billboard’

Updated Sept. 23 to include statement from Getty images.

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