No Easy Way Out for Body Magic
TVX is, like VCX, mostly in the business of repackaging classic porn titles. In this case, the movie is the 1982 Kathleen Kristel/Joey Silvera outing Body Magic.
The problem started in February of this year when TVX reissued Body Magic with a new cover featuring Lara Jade, a 17-year-old photographer from England's Midlands. Jade claims that her picture was taken when she was 14 (it is unclear if she took it herself) and that she had uploaded the photo to deviantART, only to find that it was now being used as the cover of a porn movie.
The self-portrait was titled "No Easy Way Out".
Jade was appalled when she saw the photo attached to a porn movie, the copyright obscured with an image editing program. "The back of the cover was disgusting," she said on her deviantART blog.
"What I don't get is the story on the back of the DVD mentions a photographer who is young and her name is 'Laura'," Jade told me.
The picture was allegedly downloaded from the deviantART site by boxcover artist A.J. Cohen, who TVX president Bob Augustus Burge said has worked with TVX for several decades.
"A.J. made a mistake," Burge said, "and I chewed him out about it."
The mistake was not only in using an image without permission (Burge said he does not ask Cohen where images come from, and Cohen did not remember from what location he'd downloaded the photo) but also in using one that would not sell the movie. The only similarity between the photo Jade claims is of her 14-year-old self and the current boxcover photo is that both covergirls were wearing top hats.
View the February boxcover release of Body Magic here.
Burge said that a person using "several names", including "Lara Fairie, Lara Jade, Lara Croft, and Lara Craft" began contacting him soon after the film was re-released in February, saying at first that her parents were very upset and then asking for money.
"When she said how old she was," Burge said, "I said I couldn't even talk to her. I told her to have her parents call me. But they never did."
My parents followed my e-mails with (Burge) and found him very rude. They were worried about costs of phoning him because we're in the UK therefore they felt that me messaging him with guidance would be okay.
Burge is the financier and producer of several adult and mainstream titles, including the 1988 Abe Vigoda/Lee Majors/Don Rickles vehicle Keaton's Cop. Vigoda also starred in Burge's Vasectomy - A Delicate Matter. Vigoda is a goddamn genius.
Burge told me that he believed Jade to be scheming. "She blew it when she said she was 14 and asked for money," he said. "And then she wouldn't give me her real name."
Jade did not mention calling Burge, but she did reprint several e-mails from him, including this one:
"I’M SURE BY THE END OF THE MONTH YOUR FACE WILL BE HISTORY. WE HAVE STOPPED SELLING THE DVD UNTIL COVER IS REPLACED. WE HAVE FURTHER CHECKED OUT YOUR NAME AND ITS NOT LIKE IT’S A HOUSE WHOLE NAME. ACTUALLY, REMOVING YOUR IMAGE WILL HELP IMPROVE THE SELL OF THE DVD….. SO FAR IT BOMBED"
Burge admits to writing the e-mail, and in my conversation with him his insight into the matter extended to his legal liability. He said he immediately discontinued the boxcover, having "sold less than 200 pieces" and then sent notice to all of his distributors, including IVD.
"I ate 4000 pieces at .39 a whack," he said.
The controversial boxcover is still up on several websites as of this writing, however.
"I lived through Traci Lords," Burge said. "Do you think anyone in this business would knowingly have a picture of an underage person in their movie?"
Burge would have offered Jade $300 for the cover picture, he said, had she been of age. As it is, Burge said that Jade and people claiming to represent her have been calling and e-mailing him, but he simply does not know if she is who she says she is because she never had her parents call him and she demurred when he asked for her real name and address.
"That's when the stuttering started," Burge said. "But I started off the conversation very apologetic."
Burge, who is in his 60's and claims that his "knowledge of computers and the Internet could fit in the tip of my dick", does not understand the Internet Age's love of aliases.
"I know Seka, I know Veronica Hart," he said. "You knew what their real names were. This girl's got at least four names." Jade's deviantART journal is attributed to Larafairie. Jade is a precociously talented photographer, and the multiple instances of blogs as well as her personal website seem to corroborate her identity. The "No Easy Way Out" portrait is indeed clearly copyrighted and watermarked.
"(Burge) also claimed I was 'scheming' and had set him up - placing the image on a public domain so companies can steal it and I can sue them... er, what? I actually had this image on only one website for a few years until I joined flickr - just DeviantART and it was clear that wasn't a public domain when underneath each of my picture there is a disclaimer CLEARLY stating the obvious (that's it's copyright)... and ALSO i had a bloody © symbol and my name written across my dress!!! Isn't that enough to warn anyone off anyway? When I asked for compensation he said "AS FOR COMPSENSATION;YOUR SILLY!". and this was one of the end comments he made -
"THEY ARE REMAKING THE COVER AS WE SPEAK SO YOUR TEN SECONDS OF FAME WILL SOON COME TO AN END."
My so called ten seconds of fame was from a porno dvd? No thanks."
Burge is clearly an old campaigner, used to adult industry scams. "I had to deal with the Mafia in the old days," he said. "But this Internet is ridiculous." He said, "Somebody called me up once and said I'd put Seka's head on her body. I said, 'I took the original picture; those are Seka's tits'. She said, 'Oh.'"
It sounds like Burge doesn't understand how mortifying appearing on a porn boxcover might be to someone who didn't intend to, and that Jade got antsy when the gruff Texas porn mogul asked for her address. This is just a guess.
Jade said she was alerted to the inappropriate use of her photo when yet another blogger alerted her to it. "(The other blogger) said that (the photo on the DVD) was one of her favorite things."
Friends then directed Jade to Hustler.com, and she was from there directed to TVX.
How Cohen found Jade's picture on adult websites is unclear, but my assumption is he Googled "top hat" and "classic". Jade told me her mother helped take the picture.