It’s all Relative Jewish University Sues GM Over Einstein Ad Photos

Einstein GMC Advert  Its all Relative Jewish University Sues GM Over Einstein Ad Photos

With all the recent hubbub around General Motors reorganizing its marketing campaigns and strategies, this ad-based lawsuit stands out like a sore thumb.

Way back in September, GMC ran four-page ad in People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue. Nothing special there. However, a part of the ad used Einstein’s face on a model’s body, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has the rights to his image (which earned $10 million last year)

Now the university is suing GM for $75,000, claiming Einstein’s likeness was fraudulently used in the ad. GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney defends GM by saying the automaker bought the right to use the image from a known firm, and that the ad itself (which only ran in that issue) was created by the Leo Burnett agency.

John T. Brooks, an estate/trust lawyer for Foley & Lardner LLP in Chicago, explains how all this might play out: “It may be GM thought, ‘Oh, he died and the rights are all public domain now.’ It’s old and cold and nobody’s got rights to it…I suppose you could make a business decision that you can make so much money that you can withstand a lawsuit that would tell them to stop and fine them something. It wouldn’t be the first time a corporation has done something thinking they might pay the price for it, but it’s worth it.”

Of course it’s worth it; all this lawsuit is for General Motors is extra publicity generated by a bought-and-pain-for ad from last September.

GMC Logo09 Its all Relative Jewish University Sues GM Over Einstein Ad Photos

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