LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles Superior Court judge last week refused to dismiss adult performer Vicky Vette's claims that her image was illegally used to market AdultFriendFinder in banner ads.
Vette, in a suit filed last month, charged that she first viewed an unauthorized photo of herself in an AdultFriendFinder ad on DumpsterSluts.com.
Other pictures of Vette later turned up on AdultFriendFinder's affiliate program site, the complaint said.
The affiliate program site, the suit said, "is designed to mislead the general public into thinking that Vette is somehow signed up to AdultFriendFinder in their area under the website handle of 'Groovy232 21/F.'"
But "Vette is not 21 years old, has never signed up to AdultFriendFinder and at no time gave permission to defendants to use her name and likeness ... ," the suit said.
Vette suspects the pictures used on AdultFriendFinder and affiliate sites were taken about six years ago for a photo shoot titled, "Vicky Vette Photo Shoots." The photo shoot was initiated by a Danni.com employee, Francisco Guerra, the suit charges. (Danni.com now is a division of FriendFinder.)
Vette, who is suing for no more than $25,000, has made claims for unauthorized use of name and likeness, intentional misappropriation of plaintiff's right to publicity, conspiracy and unfair competition under California's business and professions code.
Vette, in a statement to XBIZ, said AdultFriendFinder had tried to get the case dismissed by offering Danni.com model releases to the court.
"I shot for Danni.com to be their Girl of the Month — not to be used as bait in AdultFriendFinder," Vette said. "No, I'm not Groovy232 ... and no I am not in El Paso, Tucson, Santa Clarita or anywhere else seeking a casual fling in your neighborhood.
"They should pay girls if they are going to put them in advertising saying things like 'Gets Double Teamed'. You'd think someone would have called me saying 'hey, do you mind if we put you on thousands of worldwide websites saying you are looking for a date?'"
Beverly Hills attorney Michael Kernan, who represents Vette, said that "lots of adult companies think they can do anything they want with a model release, but they do not understand release language."
"Endorsement language is very specific, and it is not in most model releases," Kernan said. "AdultFriendFinder argued it had model releases barring any claims, but the court was not convinced anything covered the image in question."
Vette, who scored Web Babe of the Year at the 2012 XBIZ Awards, co-operates VNAGirls.com with adult star Julia Ann.
Lindsay Trivento, a spokeswoman for AdultFriendFinder parent FriendFinder Networks, told XBIZ that she couldn't comment on the pending legal matter except to say that "we believe the claims are without merit."