Am I in the background of your reality show? Asking for permission in NYC Reply

I was asked by a film crew if I consented to being in the background of a reality show that was being tapped on Lexington Avenue, recently. Being asked for my consent struck me as interesting and was likely due to the Nieves v. HBO case in 2006.

In the Nieves v. HBO case, a woman who was standing on the street in NYC during the filming of a reality show called Family Bonds… was noticed by the film crew and captured on film along with crude remark made by the film crew regarding her sexual allure. The woman sued HBO for using her likeness in a derogatory manner on their television show without her consent. The court issued a brief opinion refusing HBO’s request to dismiss the cause of action.

A quote from the court’s opinion:

…in New York privacy claims are founded solely upon sections 50 and 51 of the Civil Rights Law. The statute protects against the appropriation of a plaintiff’s name or likeness for defendants’ benefit. Thus, it creates a cause of action in favor of any person whose name, portrait or picture is used within this state for advertising purposes or for the purposes of trade without * * * written consent. The action may be brought to enjoin the prohibited use and may also seek damages for any injuries sustained including exemplary damages for a knowing violation of the statute.

Btw… when I was asked for my consent to be in the background of a reality show taping… I did not consent. I walked the other way.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

See, Nieves v. Home Box Office, Inc., No. 100966/05, 2006 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 365 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. County Jan. 10, 2006), aff ’d, 817 N.Y.S.2d 227 (1st Dep’t 2006) and

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