A tweet and a Facebook post may cost Duane Reade $6 million. Former Grey’s Anatomy actress Katherine Heigl is suing the national drug store chain because it tweeted a paparazzi picture of her shopping at one of the Manhattan stores and then used the photo for promotional purposes. The federal lawsuit accuses Duane Reade of using Heigl’s image without proper consent.
The pic used by Duane Reade was taken from Just Jared and posted on Duane Reade’s Twitter on March 18. The suit also contends that the drug store then “ignored as written demand that it stop this unlawful activity.”
The tweet posted by Duane Reade on their Twitter account read, “Love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even @KatieHeigl can’t resist shopping #NYC’s favorite drugstore”
The same picture of Heigl was also posted on the store’s Facebook page. “Don’t you just love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even Katherine Heigl can’t resist shopping at #NYC’s most convenient drugstore!”
The posts have since been removed.
— TMZ (@TMZ) April 10, 2014
The suit filed by Heigl’s legal team:
Use of Plaintiffs image under these circumstances improperly exploited Plaintiffs name and likeness, as a celebrity, for Defendant’s commercial advertising and purposes of trade, without authorization. Such use was done knowingly and willfully, as evidenced by Defendant’s manipulation of and changes to the Duane Reade advertising messages in the captions, after Defendant had intentionally stripped out all evidence of the original news context to the Heigl Photograph.
The lawsuit also asserts that if Heigl does win the judgement that the money will go to an animal charity that the actress started in memory of her brother who passed away in a car crash when he was a teenager. It’s called the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation.
Some analysis on how the Katherine Heigl lawsuit could cause some inspection on the nature of corporate tweets http://t.co/nPM4w5PEJw
— Eriq Gardner (@eriqgardner) April 10, 2014
We’re still in a sort of Wild Wild West phase in terms of internet law, especially pertaining to social media. The judgement on Heigl’s case will certainly set precedent on corporations using celebrity tweets for promotional purposes.
Since leaving Grey’s Anatomy in 2010, the actress has had an up and down run in the movie industry. After potential star making comedy turns in Knocked Up and 27 Dresses, Heigl’s reputation around Hollywood has taken a nose dive. A source who worked with the actress on the 2010 film Life As We Know It, slammed Heigl for her on-set behavior. “She can cost you time every single day of shooting. Wardrobe issues, not getting out of the trailer, questioning the script every single day.”
Image via Katherine Heigl, Twitter