Balsley v. LFP, Inc., No. 11-3445 (6th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
The “Hot News Babes” feature of Hustler magazine invites readers to nominate young, attractive female news reporters for a monthly prize. In 2003, Bosley, a 37-year-old news anchor, entered a “wet t-shirt” contest at a Florida bar and ultimately danced nude. Durocher, took pictures without Bosley’s knowledge and published them on lenshead.com. Durocher included a visual copyright notice and a general warning. A few months later, Bosley lost her job when the story was reported. To end the photographs’ dissemination, Bosley bought and registered the copyright. In 2004, Bosley was employed as a television reporter in another city. In 2005, a reader advised Hustler of the availability of the pictures online and of Bosley being the “HOTTEST.” Hustler published the Durocher nude photograph in 2006 with text describing Bosley. Bosley’s suit alleged direct copyright infringement, 17 U.S.C. 101; contributory infringement, 17 U.S.C. 101; vicarious infringement, 17 U.S.C. 106(1), (3), (5); violation of Ohio common law right of privacy; violation of the Ohio statutory right of publicity; and violation of the Ohio Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Only the direct infringement claim survived. The jury rejected a fair use defense, but found the violation not willful, and awarded $135,000 plus fees. The Sixth Circuit affirmed.