Breaking News: Lara Jade Coton Awarded $130,000 in Damages

In a judgement dated yesterday, September 16, the judge in the Lara Jade Coton case has awarded the photographer $130,000 in damages after a self-portrait of her was used as the cover art and the disc art for a pornographic DVD.

The case began in 2007 when the defendants in the case, Robert Burge and his company Televised Visual X-Ography used Coton’s photograph when they distributed a pornographic DVD entitled “Body Magic”. Coton, who was 14 at the time the photo was taken, was seen wearing a formal dress and a top hat while posing in front of a window.

Coton, who was outraged at the use of her image, immediately demanded that Burge stop use of the image. Burge said that the error was with his designer but said that he had recalled the DVDs and was changing the cover art. However, according to Coton’s attorney, Richard Harrison, they had not changed the art on the disc itself and were continuing to sell copies of it with Coton’s image.

Coton sued Burge and TVX citing a wide range of torts including copyright infringement, misappropriation of image, defamation and infliction of emotional distress.

The case had dragged on for the past three years, with Burge and TVX being found in default, and it eventually proceeded to bench trial on damages alone in July.

Coton had asked the court for some $434,000 in damage totalled but the judge awarded $129,173.20 in the case, saying that some of the claims were impermissible double recovery and denied punitive damages citing that Burge’s actions lacked malice.

This is a breaking story and I will have a more thorough evaluation of the judgment later as well as a more thorough write-up on the case itself. In the meantime, feel free to review the order granting final judgment for yourself.

Congratulations to Lara Jade and Richard Harrison for a hard-fought and very important win.

17 Responses to Breaking News: Lara Jade Coton Awarded $130,000 in Damages

  1. cybele says:

    Lacked malice? Did he say things like it was a terrible cover and the worst selling title he had when it had her picture on it?

    I hope that’s more than her lawyer’s fees … that girl’s gotta pay for college.

    • shelly says:

      Lara has been out of college for some time, not to mention she’s now an established professional photographer. The photograph in question was taken when she was fourteen; she found out about its use on the DVD cover three years later. She’s now 21.

    • To be clear, the “lack of malice” dealt with the infringement itself, not the dastardly things said afterward. There was no real proof he acted with malice when using the photo, stupidity certainly but not malice.

      Unfortunately, all of the aftermath wasn’t wholly relevant though the judge did include all of those emails in the final opinion, just to ensure they are preserved forever…

  2. [...] If you’re interested in seeing the press release then please go to the plagiarism today site, here: [...]

  3. [...] proprio tempo libero. Ad ogni modo ieri la notizia che il caso e’ stato vinto e Robert Burge multato per 130 mila dolla. La foto di stock piu’ costosa che io abbia mai [...]

  4. A great victory for all professional photographers – well done Lara and continued excellent work!

  5. Well done Lara!, glad this got sorted in your favour. We’ve all ben suffering from copyright theft, rights grabs etc great to hear of your victory.

  6. drmike says:

    Was she 14 or 17? You quote both ages.

    To be honest, I would have pushed a child porn argument along with the copyright. I wonder why it wasn;t done….

  7. [...] cases in recent copyright history and one of the more important ones for smaller content creators. With the case concluded, we’re going to take a look back at the lawsuit, how it started, how it was battled and what [...]

  8. Pela_monia says:

    i am sure she can manage. good that she won. photo theft bastards!

  9. [...] to El Reg, with more details available here and here. And if you’re unsure on your picture rights, you can check out our quick and dirty [...]

  10. That's so freaking awsome!

  11. [...] there are many occasions where a copyright lawsuit is both reasonable and justified, such as the Lara Jade case, there are times that people go too far with copyright [...]

  12. [...] there are many occasions where a copyright lawsuit is both reasonable and justified, such as the Lara Jade case, there are times that people go too far with copyright [...]

  13. [...] have been cases of women and girls taking a stand against this unnerving trend, most prominently the case of Lara Jade who successfully sued for damages against an adult website found to be using her photo without her [...]

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