Imagine your spouse demanding to know why your photo is being used to promote an internet dating site.
That’s what Golden Beach police officer David Guzman said happened to him. He’s suing London-based NSI Holdings Limited, owner of Cupid.com, and accusing the company of stealing his image from his Facebook page to promote UniformDating.com, a dating site for military members and first responders.
According to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, the company used Guzman’s photograph in various Instagram and Facebook advertisements. In an example provided by Fort Lauderdale-based attorney Manuel Hiraldo, Guzman’s photo was posted on Instagram above the user name UniformDatingcom and a post identifying him as “Jason, 33” and “Single.” The comment continues, “Bulletproof vest? Nah, it’s all muscle.”
A response filed by the company on Aug. 9 denies the charges, saying that Guzman — or someone privy to his personal information — created a dating profile on its site.
Guzman contends that he learned of the ads from several acquaintances who saw his photo “on or about April 2018.”
Guzman’s wife asked why his photo was on a dating service ad, forcing him to explain to his wife “that he had no idea,” the suit states.
Furious, Guzman contacted NSI Holdings and demanded that the company stop using his photo. The company, Guzman contends, “was resistant, astonishingly demanding that [Guzman] provide proof of his identity before removing the advertisements.”
Guzman is married with children “and has never used, nor does he have any interest in [NSI Holdings’] dating services,” the suit states.
State and federal laws forbid use of a person’s likeness for commercial or advertising uses without express consent, the suit states. Guzman is seeking an injunction that would prevent further use of his photo to promote the company’s dating business, as well as “actual, statutory and punitive damages.”
NSI Holdings, in its Aug. 9 filing, asked the court to dismiss the suit. It said Guzman’s position “is not enviable. He is a married man and respected member of his community who has been caught with a profile on an online dating website. While sympathies may flow in [Guzman’s] direction, there is no liability” for the company.
The company said that while investigating Guzman’s claims, it discovered a user profile on UniformDating.com that included Guzman’s actual birthdate and email address.
NSI Holdings could not have created the profile because it did not have access to his photo, email address or birthdate, the company contends. “Rather, the information available to NSI Holdings indicates that [Guzman] himself ? or someone well acquainted with [him] ? created this user profile,” the company’s filing states.
In addition, the company’s data showed that whoever uploaded Guzman’s profile visited UniformDating.com just once, suggesting “that creation of the profile was a momentary dalliance,” it said.
Guzman’s suit contends that the company is still using his picture, even after he sent a copy of his driver’s license to prove his identity. The company said it removed Guzman’s images within days of his request.
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