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Model Carolyn Giles is suing Ford Models, Volvo, and Hertz for $23 million for allegedly misappropriating her image in ads.
Giles claims that a former boyfriend living in Argentina spotted her image on a Hertz ad in that country. After a little bit of research, Giles discovered that Volvo had used her image in ads for different car models in 30 different countries, reports the New York Daily News. In addition, Giles claims Hertz was also using her image.
Perhaps most appalling to Giles was a Volvo ad she found that she claims portrayed her as a Swedish adult escort. In an image on a website called "Fast Impressions," there is a picture of Giles coming out of a Volvo with the caption reading, "Rev Up Your Love Life," reports the Daily News.
When Giles was just a student at Columbia University she says that she signed a $1,000 contract to promote Volvo's S40 model. The terms of this $1,000 contract will likely govern whether Giles is successful in her multi-million dollar lawsuit.
For example, if the contract stipulates that Volvo or Ford Models owns all the images from the photoshoot and can use the images for whatever purpose, these companies likely had the right to reuse the images in other ads. This includes the racy ad on "Fast Impressions."
However, if the contract states that the photos were for the limited "one-time" use of promoting the Volvo S40 model, Giles probably has a viable claim that the companies breached the contract by using her image on a flood of other products.
The more difficult issue will be if the contract is vague or does not specify the terms with which the companies may use Carolyn Giles' image. If that is the case a judge will have to determine if the 30 Volvo ads were too much.