What do Mark Spitz, Greg Louganis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Janet Evans and Jason Lezak have in common? Other than being some of the best Olympic athletes in the United States of America they are also all suing Samsung for infringing on their publicity rights with their “Samsung Olympic Genome Project”. The Samsung game brings attention to the forthcoming 2012 Olympics and plays a “six degrees of separation” game showing how Facebook users are connected to Olympians.
In addition to the Olympans named above there are 13 more also tied to the suit. They allege that Samsung has violated California Civil Code Section 3344, which makes it unlawful to use without consent another’s name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness for commercial purpose.
Facebook apps are no stranger to this civil code. Apps like Friend Finder and Sponsored Stories have also been hit with suits pertaining to this law.
More after the break
In addition to the 18 Olympians in the lawsuit the database that Samsung is using in the Olympic Genome Project holds data on 3,000 athletes total. The app finds the commonalities between the Facebook user and the athletes. Apparently without their permission.
“Plaintiffs’ names and images and background information are on the Facebook application, in an attempt to link Plaintiffs to consumers,” says the lawsuit. “Prominently displayed on the Facebook application is the Samsung’s trademarked name as well as advertising for Defendants’ ‘Galaxy’ product. Samsung has used Plaintiffs’ names and images to create the impression that Plaintiffs endorse Defendants’ products and business.”
The forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S III device is rumored tobe announced as the official phone of the 2012 Olympics. We’re not too sure how well that’s going to go now. Samsung has a long history with the Olympics. They’ve sponsored the Olympics and Olympic teams for many years, the most recent being 2010 in Vancouver and 2008 in BeJing
source: Hollywood Reporter