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Paging Dr. Ramirez: You may be keeping up with Kim Kardashian, but your giant billboard with her unauthorized image may get you sued.
Drivers in Mexicali may have noticed Kim Kardashian posing in a bikini on a billboard touting the services of Dr. Victor Ramirez, a local plastic surgeon, gossip website TMZ reports. A desert border town, Mexicali sits on the Mexican side of the California border about 120 miles from San Diego.
"Don't risk your beauty, or your health," the billboard says in Spanish, in an attempt to dissuade potential patients from seeking an unauthorized surgeon.
But the use of Kardashian's image without permission may have put Ramirez in a risky predicament.
Lawyers for Kim Kardashian are considering a possible lawsuit in connection with the plastic surgeon's billboard, according to TMZ.
When asked if he'd gotten Kardashian's OK to use her image, Ramirez told TMZ, "Obviously I did not speak to Kim Kardashian. I do not have her number."
In the United States, using someone's image for commercial purposes without permission is generally grounds for a lawsuit. Victims can sue for the appropriation of their names or images -- a form of invasion of privacy. For celebrities, this is often referred to as the right of publicity.
Laws in Mexico seem to parallel U.S. law in requiring prior permission before the publication of someone's photo for commercial purposes, according to the online Personality Rights Database.
A Mexican government agency prosecutes commercial copyright infringements and can impose fines, according to the Database. A model whose image is used without permission has 10 years to pursue a civil claim, the Mexican Industrial Property Institute's website says.
Kim Kardashian's lawyers are likely weighing these options as they mull a lawsuit for the plastic surgeon's billboard appropriation. As for Dr. Victor Ramirez, he apparently told TMZ he'd get the police involved, then hung up the phone.