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Updates on the Lara Jade Case

Back in May, I reported on Lara Jade Coton, a professional photographer who discovered that a self portrait she took of herself when she was fourteen was used as the cover art for a pornographic DVD.

Later, in July, she filed a lawsuit against the company behind the DVD, TVX Films, with the aid of a Tampa lawyer, Richard Harrison.

There has been little movement on the lawsuit. According to Harrison, TVX Films has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds but not much else has happened.

However, a forum posting earlier this month on Model Mayhem has pointed to another controversy with TVX films and, possibly at least, another set of legal troubles for the company.

A Potential Pattern

In the forum, a poster named Manuel Rego highlighted the cover of TVX Films’ movie Sunny (NSFW), which appears to have used a photograph entitled “Flowers” (nsfw) by a Russian photographer known as “Roge”.

According to Rego. he was able to get in contact with Roge and said in another posting that the photographer had no idea that the photo was being used and that he was upset about it.

No word about whether or not the photographer involved is considering action against TVX films for the use of the photo.

The forum conversation also discusses, and in fact started with, another image used on the cover of the TVX film “StarBabe” that appears to come from pinup photographer Octavio Arizala (noisy site and nsfw), also known as Winkytiki.

The cover photo on the Starbabe DVD seems to be a doctored version of a photo he shot of a woman holding a science fiction pistol. The photo can be seen on his Web site in various places though I could not find a direct link to the photo.

According to Harrison, who sent me the link to the Model Mayhem forum, “If you look at the three cases (Lara Jade and these other two) you will find that all three had their work on Deviant Art website and all three
photographers reside outside the U.S. Seems like a deliberate pattern, and not sheer coincidence, to me.”

Harrison goes on to say that he does not represent any of the other photographers involved and can not comment on what action they might be taking.

I sent an email to Arizala for comment but he did not respond before the posting of this article. I will update this piece if he does.

It is unclear what, if anything, will come of these allegations. However, photographers and models are being encouraged to take a look at the TVX site, linked in the original forum post, and see if your work has been used by them. I would add that is especially true if you are an international photographer that has used deviantArt and takes photos that might be of interest for this type of use.

Clearly though, there is much about this case that is unresolved and I will continue to bring you more updates as they come to light.

23 Responses to Updates on the Lara Jade Case

  1. JB says:

    RS: Where did you get that impression from? For some things they are very quick but for most they are painfully slow for most things. This is not an atypical pace.The problem is that the courts are backlogged. The queue to have your case heard can be months or years.Think about this, the RIAA verdict I reported on a while back, that case was filed over four years ago. I'm sad to say courts here can be dreadfully slow.

  2. I was under the impression that American courts moved fast. Why do you think that there has been this delay?

  3. JB says:

    RS: Where did you get that impression from? For some things they are very quick but for most they are painfully slow for most things. This is not an atypical pace.

    The problem is that the courts are backlogged. The queue to have your case heard can be months or years.

    Think about this, the RIAA verdict I reported on a while back, that case was filed over four years ago. I’m sad to say courts here can be dreadfully slow.

  4. JB says:

    RS: I was thinking about this last night and I believe I know where you got that impression. You see, in general, our criminal courts move very fast. They have to. Defendants can be released if they are not arraigned within X number of hours. There are also rules regulating when they need to be tried by and so forth. The civil courts are a different matter. There are too many lawsuits and not enough judges. A sign of our excessively litigious society. With no constitutional pressures to push things through quickly, the cases often linger for months on end.Does that clarify things a bit more?

  5. Frankly, I am shocked. For a country that is famous for its legal profession, amply highlighted by various TV shows, such delays should not really take place. This is more like the legal system of a banana republic! Thanks for the insight.

  6. JB says:

    RS: I was thinking about this last night and I believe I know where you got that impression.

    You see, in general, our criminal courts move very fast. They have to. Defendants can be released if they are not arraigned within X number of hours. There are also rules regulating when they need to be tried by and so forth.

    The civil courts are a different matter. There are too many lawsuits and not enough judges. A sign of our excessively litigious society. With no constitutional pressures to push things through quickly, the cases often linger for months on end.

    Does that clarify things a bit more?

  7. Recliners says:

    This really sheds some light on the legal system of the US. All the TV shows would have us believe that the courts move at lightning speed in all matters and that delays are the rare exception and not the rule.JB you are so right, the American society is in fact excessively litigious, sometimes ridiculously so. So it is no wonder that backlogs are routine, much like the less developed countries

  8. Recliners says:

    This really sheds some light on the legal system of the US. All the TV shows would have us believe that the courts move at lightning speed in all matters and that delays are the rare exception and not the rule.

    JB you are so right, the American society is in fact excessively litigious, sometimes ridiculously so. So it is no wonder that backlogs are routine, much like the less developed countries

  9. Sere says:

    It's really a shame that companies have to stoop so low and rip other people off. I still can't get over the lack of professionalism from the man Lara Jade e-mailed as well.Too bad our civil courts don't run as fast as our criminal ones, really. Our society needs to wake up and do something about this — Taking years to come to an agreement in court is ridiculous, it truly is. Plus, if someone's battling a big company or something similar, they usually have the resources to just drag out the suit until the little guy runs out of money.Lara Jade's lawsuit makes me think of LithiumPicnic's battle with SuicideGirls. Ugh.

  10. Sere says:

    It’s really a shame that companies have to stoop so low and rip other people off. I still can’t get over the lack of professionalism from the man Lara Jade e-mailed as well.

    Too bad our civil courts don’t run as fast as our criminal ones, really. Our society needs to wake up and do something about this — Taking years to come to an agreement in court is ridiculous, it truly is. Plus, if someone’s battling a big company or something similar, they usually have the resources to just drag out the suit until the little guy runs out of money.

    Lara Jade’s lawsuit makes me think of LithiumPicnic’s battle with SuicideGirls. Ugh.

  11. JB says:

    Recliners: Like I said, the criminal courts move at pretty good speed though I doubt you could ever wrap up a case in an hour like on TV. But our civil courts are just so burdened that there is no way to keep up. We are an overly litigious society and that is a shame. We've been taught that the courts are the first step in resolving disputes, not the last, and that it can be a veritable lottery of free money.However, the only people getting rich are the lawyers, trust me, I know.Sere: It is a shame and the problem is that legitimate cases, like this, one keep getting pushed back. Also, as you pointed out, the delay favors larger companies with the resources to stick it out. Little guys either can't sue or are forced to settle for pennies on the dollar because they can't afford the fight.We need to start A) Beefing up our civil system and B) tossing out stupid lawsuits early. If we can do both, we might be able to save the system at a reasonable cost.

  12. JB says:

    Recliners: Like I said, the criminal courts move at pretty good speed though I doubt you could ever wrap up a case in an hour like on TV. But our civil courts are just so burdened that there is no way to keep up.

    We are an overly litigious society and that is a shame. We’ve been taught that the courts are the first step in resolving disputes, not the last, and that it can be a veritable lottery of free money.

    However, the only people getting rich are the lawyers, trust me, I know.

    Sere: It is a shame and the problem is that legitimate cases, like this, one keep getting pushed back. Also, as you pointed out, the delay favors larger companies with the resources to stick it out. Little guys either can’t sue or are forced to settle for pennies on the dollar because they can’t afford the fight.

    We need to start A) Beefing up our civil system and B) tossing out stupid lawsuits early. If we can do both, we might be able to save the system at a reasonable cost.

  13. Recliners says:

    It is a sad day when law courts are treated as a lottery ticket by litigants. Maybe it is time for some judicial activism?

  14. [...] update on the Lara Jade case. More [...]

  15. JB says:

    Honestly, I have to say I blame the lawyers as much as anyone. The truth is that almost no one gets rich from the courts these days but many wind up paying their lawyers tidy sums.Lawyers are the only ones who get rich and they often tantalize potential clients with dreams of big payouts knowing that it really means a bigger check for them as well.Get rid of the bad lawyers, the problem becomes less of an issue…Just my thoughts on it.

  16. JB says:

    Honestly, I have to say I blame the lawyers as much as anyone. The truth is that almost no one gets rich from the courts these days but many wind up paying their lawyers tidy sums.

    Lawyers are the only ones who get rich and they often tantalize potential clients with dreams of big payouts knowing that it really means a bigger check for them as well.

    Get rid of the bad lawyers, the problem becomes less of an issue…

    Just my thoughts on it.

  17. jen says:

    what is the current status of this case?

  18. Jen: I have not received any updates on this case. I will let everyone know if I hear anything. The slow progression is not a shock though, as anyone who has been in a lawsuit will tell you, these things move at a snail’s pace, especially here in the U.S.

  19. Jen: I have not received any updates on this case. I will let everyone know if I hear anything. The slow progression is not a shock though, as anyone who has been in a lawsuit will tell you, these things move at a snail’s pace, especially here in the U.S.

  20. Manuel Rego says:

    Has there been any updates to this story since it was first published? After I contacted Roge, I never heard anything more about it myself.

  21. Actually, I just checked PACER. The case made it to trial on the 21st but Burge and company did not show up for the trial and a default judgement has been entered against them. Coton has 15 days to file a memo on damages and the judge has to rule on that. Very odd but seems to be the case.

  22. [...] Coton finally got her day in court.However, it was probably a bit of a disappointment.The case has been fraught with delays and false starts over the years. These issues were largely caused by the defendants, which have now been found to be in default due [...]

  23. Thanks for keeping us updated.

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