PC Company Accused Of Stealing Cosplay Image For Ad

On the left, a photo of cosplayer Lindze A'la Mode. On the right, an advertisement for PC and hardware company MSI.

On left: cosplay by Lindze A'la Mode, photo by Allison Rose

Aside from the crime that it's a terrible Photoshop job, MSI is being taken to court in Georgia because the cosplayer and photographer involved in the original shot say it was made (and used for commercial purposes) without their permission.

Bot Lindze and photographer Allison Rose's names appear on a suit filed in July in Atlanta, accusing MSI of taking their copyrighted work - which was originally taken in 2013 for a charity calendar - and in June 2016 doctoring it for their advertisement, which appeared on MSI's "websites and social media accounts", and was "retweeted by Intel Corporation to its forty-five thousand followers".

The image has since been removed from MSI's Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The case accuses MSI of "knowingly, and with the intent to enable, conceal, and facilitate copyright infringement, provided and distributed false copyright management information with the [image]". Both Lindze and Rose are seeking damages.

MSI's response in court is based on the argument that the company lacked "knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief about the truth of the allegations... and therefore denies them", and that their use of the image constituted "fair use".

This kind of stuff needs to stop.


Comments

    And people ask me why I don't shop at MSI for my computer stuff ....

    Last edited 02/12/16 10:50 am

      Because they used a photo? I don't see the connection...

      Are you confusing MSI with MSY? MSI is a Taiwanese hardware manufacturer, MSY is an Australian budget PC hardware retailer. You can't "shop at" MSI but you can buy MSI products from MSY.

        I bought about half the gear for my PC build from the MSY in Ultimo and they were great - patient in dealing with a rank amateur, happy to provide advice on different parts, and even convinced me to go for cheaper options because the ones I had picked were overkill relative to the rest of my build.

        whoops my bad, just this compared to yesturdays article and guys in my office saying I should by from MS'Y'

    "knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief about the truth of the allegations... and therefore denies them"

    Every lawyers told on the first day of Uni their very first lesson: "Ignorance of the law is no excuse". This forms the very basis of every defense. MSI is about to get slapped down so fucking hard... they would've been better off coming out and saying "Shit... sorry we royally screwed up, here's some damages."

    Last edited 02/12/16 10:50 am

      Better yet, they should have contacted the original rights holder and asked if they could licence use of the image. Crisis averted

      They could at least have claimed to have purchased a right to use the image from some shady stock image company that had stolen it.

        That at LEAST couldve loaned an air of credibility...

      We have no way of knowing what happened behind the scenes. It is very possible MSI said "Shit... sorry we royally screwed up, here's some damages." However, the plaintiff was obviously not happy with whatever was offered. It is quite rare for someone to bring a case to court without first doing some sort of negotiation. And MSI may have made a extremely generous offer, or a shit one. We have no way of knowing.

      We also have no way of knowing whether MSI is truly at fault here. Or maybe it was a contractor that was used to do the advertisement. And unknowingly for MSI the contractor did the dodge. This is unfortunately not all that uncommon. But doesn't absolve MSI of anything legally. But it would just make this a screw up for them, and not knowingly stealing other peoples work.

        Everything you just said is incorrect. We do have a way of knowing as MSI admitted fault through ignorance in a poor attempt to say "hey we were ignorant of this sooooo..." which by law is no excuse. They even attempted to defend stealing the image via the fair use act which does not apply here. You're overreaching in an attempt to defend and creating implausible situations when reality is sitting there staring you in the eyes.

        However, the plaintiff was obviously not happy with whatever was offered.
        This literally never happened. Are you an MSI employee by chance shilling for the company?

        Last edited 02/12/16 12:34 pm

      Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, just an armchair guy who's overly interested in copy right law

      Well, the case is about

      knowingly, and with the intent to enable, conceal, and facilitate copyright infringement, provided and distributed false copyright management information with the [image]

      So in this case not knowing that they were doing something wrong could in fact be a defence. The intent in this matter could affect the case, but it would not be a "get out of jail free card" in this case.

    So weird, when they could have just used the original Westinghouse poster.

    Wait... so their response is they don't understand what's going on so it must be false? hahaha what a load of crap.
    Also, "fair use" doesn't cover advertising or any other commercial uses (as many youtubers discover on a regular basis), sorry MSI.

    Last edited 02/12/16 11:08 am

      Seriously, I had to read the quote three times to make sure it wasn't what I thought it was. Unfortunately, it still was...
      It's like "we didn't do any research, so we fail to see your argument is true". It's almost comical.

        Same here. For some reason, my brain decided to translate it that "no speak English" was their defence...

      Fair use doesn't automatically exclude advertising. It is more difficult to claim fair use for commercial use, but it is certainly possible.

      But even if they did manage to succeed in a fair use argument, I suspect they're going to have trouble if they can't produce a signed model release from the cosplayer.

    MSI's response in court is based on the argument that the company lacked "knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief about the truth of the allegations... and therefore denies them", and that their use of the image constituted "fair use".

    Otherwise interpreted as, "We thought copyright could only be held by corporations and not individuals, unless they're famous."

    Man, could we all be so lucky that a multi-national company so blatantly and completely indefensibly gives us ground for a lawsuit like this. You basically hit the lottery jackpot without buying a ticket.

    Last edited 02/12/16 1:03 pm

    So they copied a cos player copying an advertisement. Maybe someone thought it was the original one.

    Last edited 02/12/16 3:59 pm

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