From The Hollywood Reporter:
A self-published erotic novella entitled A Gronking to Remember could be on its way to highlighting the dangers of stripping out the middle-men.
Last year, pseudonymous author Lacey Noonan hit the big time by cleverly picking a title that alluded to the way that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski emphatically spiked a football whenever he scored a touchdown. The title was undoubtedly memorable — so much so that it got heated online attention and soon, mentions on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and other television shows.
The book took a detour from the best-seller list, though, when it was suddenly pulled by some online outlets.
. . . .
[T]he problem with the book might have been something else on the cover, as revealed in a lawsuit (read here) that was filed in Ohio by two anonymous individuals.
“The cover of the book contains a photograph of the Plaintiffs which was taken as part of their engagement journey leading toward their wedding,” states the complaint. “The photograph was appropriated by the Defendants for commercial gain without the permission of the Plaintiffs nor with the permission of any lawful copyright holder.”
The lawsuit targets Noonan, and also Apple, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble for allowing readers to access the work in iBooks, Kindle and Nook digital formats. The plaintiffs — captioned as “John Roe” and “Jane Roe” — are asserting violations of their rights of publicity under Ohio law.
. . . .
“The subject matter of the book, A Gronking to Remember, is less than tasteful and is offensive,” says the complaint. “The use of the Plaintiffs image has held them up to ridicule and embarrassment. This outrageous connection has been further aggravated when the book, with the Plaintiffs image, has been reproduced in the media nationwide. The book has been shown as a source of ribald humor on The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live as well as being displayed and read before the press at media day for the Super Bowl.”
The lawsuit was recently removed to a federal court and appears primed to answer the question of whether Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act can shield an e-book service from publicity rights claims. That statute enacted by Congress in 1996 states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
. . . .
But how about Apple allowing people to “self-publish” stuff through its iBooks store? Or Amazon.com allowing authors to “self-publish” works on Kindle stores? Are Apple and Amazon not “publishers”?
That’s what one of the defendants asserts.
Link to the rest at The Hollywood Reporter and thanks to Bill for the tip.
PG says you need to get your photos for covers from reputable stock image suppliers.