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Update: Hustler Used Her Image On a Boxcover; Photographer Wins Settlement

PRETTY Lara Jade Coton has won £82,000 damages from bosses at a US porn firm who used a holiday snap of her on the front cover of an X-rated film.

Lara, now 21,was only 14 and a keen photographer when she took a self-portrait of herself in Blackpool wearing a top hat and a ball gown.

She was so proud of the picture she submitted it to an “arty” website.

But she was stunned three years ago when a pal told her he had seen her innocent picture had been “stolen” and used as the cover picture on a DVD cover for a porn flick called “Body Magic” billed by the sex company Hustler as one of it “highest rated movies.”

Lara and her parents fired off a complaint to makers TVX Films but bosses there dismissed her claims and accused her of “scheming.”

But Lara is now celebrating after she was awarded the £82,000 in damages by account in Tampa, Florida, after a three-year legal battle.

The court found that her reputation and career had been “damaged by the unscrupulous firm”.

Judge Thomas G Wilson described the company’s conduct as “morally wrong and tortuous”.

He said that, by using Lara’s image, they had improperly implied that she was “a participant in, or otherwise connected with, the pornographic entertainment industry.”

Lara from Tamworth, Staffs, has since become an internationally-acclaimed photographer, working in London and New York.

Her images have appeared on the cover of a number of fashion magazines and generated millions of views on the internet.

But the photographer said that she has been haunted by the image since it was stolen.

She said: “I didn’t want to be known as the girl from the porn film.

“It was always there in my head. I had to bring it up in meetings I had with clients and agencies. They’d hear porn film and were instantly put off.

“But after I explained, they were very understanding and told me I had to protect my rights and were very supportive.”

She added: “I’m just delighted I’ve been able to stand up for my rights. It’s good to have it finally out of the way. It’s not about the money I had to defend my rights in my work as well as my character and professional reputation.

“People are having their work stolen and no-one is willing to stand up against it because of the cost.”

Interesting that Hustler wasn’t mentioned in the press release when they were involved in the original case.

From the AdultFYI files: — Teenaged photographer Lara Jade Coton never expected one of her photos to turn up on the cover of a pornographic movie.

She certainly never expected to see a picture of herself used in that fashion. But that is just what Lara Jade found, three years ago, when she discovered that an innocent self-portrait, taken when she was only 14 years old, was used without her permission as the cover of the sexually explicit movie, “Body Magic.”

In the three years since that horrible discovery, Lara Jade has achieved international acclaim as a professional photographer. Her work has graced the covers of numerous fashion magazines, been licensed by major publishing houses and generated millions of views online. She is sponsored by leading industry players like Canon® and Bowens Lighting® and has worked throughout Europe and in the United States. By any measure, Lara Jade is a rising star in the world of photography.

Now a federal court in Tampa has awarded Lara Jade nearly $130,000 in damages for copyright infringement, misappropriation of her image and damages to her reputation.

The court found that Lara Jade suffered personal and professional humiliation, harm to her career, and damage to her physical health. United States Magistrate Judge Thomas G. Wilson, in his order rendered September 16, 2010, described the conduct of pornographer Robert Burge and his company, TVX, as “morally wrong and tortious.”

By misappropriating her image and using it in connection with their adult film, Burge and TVX improperly suggested that Lara Jade was a participant in, or otherwise connected with, the pornographic entertainment industry. The harm suffered by Lara Jade was also compounded, according to Judge Wilson, by Burge’s “offensive and belittling” treatment of her after the misuse of her photograph was discovered.

Lara Jade, now 21 years old, lives and works in London and New York.

“Everything I wanted to accomplish through this legal action has now come to pass,” said Lara Jade.

“I defended my intellectual property rights in my work as well as my personal character and professional reputation.” The case should signal to other artists that their copyrights will be protected and enforced, Lara Jade observed, if they are willing to fight the often long and sometimes frustrating legal battles required to hold the infringers accountable.

“I’m glad that I fought for three years for what I knew was right,” Lara Jade said, “and of course I am completely delighted with the court’s decision in the matter.”

Tampa attorney Richard A. Harrison, who represented Lara Jade, echoed her sentiments.

“The court’s decision is a complete vindication of Lara Jade’s personal and professional reputations,” he noted, as well as a strong message to those who help themselves to the creative work of others without permission or compensation. “Be prepared to get sued,” he warned, “and be prepared to lose.” “Copyright infringement,” he observed further, “can be an expensive proposition.”

Lara Jade Coton is a professional photographer and model. She took up the art of photography at the age of 14 and also works in photo manipulation and digital art. Her work can be seen at www.larajade.co.uk.

Richard A. Harrison is a shareholder with the firm of Allen Dell, P.A., in Tampa, Florida. The firm has 20 attorneys and has been established in Tampa for nearly 85 years. The firm’s website is at www.allendell.com.

The case is Lara Jade Coton vs. Televised Visual X-Ography, Inc. and Robert Augustus Burge, United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Case No. 8:07-CV-1332-T-TGW. The court’s September 16, 2010, Order and the judgment for damages are available upon request via email.

Back story, 8/1/2007: Tampa- A British teenager whose self-portrait somehow ended up on the cover of a hardcore video has filed a lawsuit against the film’s distributors, claiming that they have left the impression that she is involved in the porno industry.

In a copyright lawsuit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Tampa, Florida, Lara Jade Coton, 18, charges that her photo–which was taken when she was just 14–has appeared on the cover of “Body Magic,” a 1982 film that was recently reissued [by Hustler].

The image of Coton, now a college student, shows her wearing a shoulder-bearing dress and a top hat. The photo, which Coton titled “No Way Out,” was lifted from her web site by the artist who designed the DVD cover of “Body Magic,” which is described on its cover as having received Hustler magazine’s “highest rating.”

The movie’s main character is a young fashion photographer named Laura. In her lawsuit, Coton recounts contacting one of the film’s distributors earlier this year after discovering her image on the porno box. Her request for compensation was brusquely rejected by one of the film’s distributors, who wrote, “Nice try toots. We are still going to remove you from the art, not because of your claim but let’s face it your picture means very little to the film.”

While Coton’s photo was subsequently replaced on the film’s box, the image has remained on the DVD itself.

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