LOS ANGELES, CA —Hollywood stars Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres are suing companies using their likeness to sell health and beauty products without their permission.
The joint lawsuit filed last Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court claims these sites use their images and fake testimonials to earn money on ad clicks.
The lawsuit lists 40 beauty products it says are part of the scam.Targeted are 100 anonymous individuals and companies that can now be identified with subpoenas.
The challenge they’ve been facing for the past two years, is once they’ve identified a site using their likeness and are able to have the site shut down, another pops up in its place, and the internet companies behind the sites have yet to be identified.
The defendants in the suit are identified as John Does Nos. 1 through 100, because DeGeneres and Bullock haven’t been able to identify the individuals behind the fraud.
“These companies change names frequently, merge in and out of entities formed in states that allow for secrecy, operate websites that pop up and disappear overnight, and generally do everything possible to ‘stay one step ahead of the sheriff,’” the complaint said.
The California Right of Publicity law protects against unauthorized uses of a person’s name or likeness for commercial and certain other exploitative purposes.