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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hebrew University Sues GM over Einstein Image: How is Bill Gates Involved?

The story hit the news wires today that Hebrew University has filed a lawsuit over what has been termed in the media as the unauthorized use of Einstein's photo on top of a buff body in an ad placed last November in People Magazine, "The Sexiest Men" issue.

Upon reading the lawsuit filed though, it is clear that Hebrew University is claiming something different also. That by use of the photo it appears that Einstein is endorsing the GM Terrain and since Hebrew University hold the rights to most of Einstein's images, it brings a loss to them because they do not endorse the Terrain vehicle. That's what it's about, Hebrew University's business interests. Read the full lawsuit HERE (you have to read it page by page and click again to enlarge-note that Greenlight is named in the suit)

“At the end of the day, it's our ad. But the mechanics of creating the ad, including purchasing images from stock photo houses that guarantee they have proper usage rights, fall to the agency; in this case, Leo Burnett,” wrote Ryndee Carney, GM's manager of dealer and advertising communications, in an e-mail toCrain's.

“There was no negligence in this case. It's something that's done virtually every day in the advertising business and the stock photo house that was used is well-known and highly reputable.”

The stock photo house? That would be Greenlightrights which is also named in Hebrew University's lawsuit (though is not a party to the lawsuit)

And who owns Greenlight?

So there you have it folks. Hebrew University is stating in their lawsuit that it looks like Einstein (who is dead) is endorsing a GM product.

Hebrew University is claiming that the use of the photo as used in the GM ad was not authorized by them and that the use has somehow brought loss to the university.

Who screwed up? Greenlightrights owned by Bill Gates or Leo Burnett? The case has not been tried yet but it is General Motors left holding the lawsuit bag.

Who are all the players involved in this lawsuit?

Our very own downtrodden American auto manufacturer, General Motors. (the entity named)

Leo Burnett, listed in 1998 as the ninth largest advertising firm in the world. (not being sued)

Greenlightrights which is owned by Bill Gates. (not being sued)

Oh, and don't forget Einstein, dead since 1955 who Hebrew University claims the ad makes it look like he is endorsing a car made NOW.

Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton, New Jersey 08540 USA (609) 734-8000

The Corbis (previously Roger Richman Agency) represents Hebrew University in the United States for granting licensing for the use of Einstein's image in print, television and film. Anyone seeking permission to use images of Einstein, other than for scholarly publication, should be referred to this agency. Corbis/Roger Richman website
Roger Richman Agency 9777 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 700
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
phone: (310) 276-7000 - fax: (310) 276-8023

Corbis is owned by Bill Gates. In 2008 they restructured to name their Rights Services Division Greenlightrights. Greenlight is named in the lawsuit as who the picture was purchased from.

GreenLight LLC and its affiliates exclusively represent publicity, trademark, and related rights of Albert Einstein on behalf of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Albert Einstein" and "Einstein" are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

So, my question, did GM legally purchase the photo of his head from Greenlight as they say they did through Burnett as it was and then Burnett tweeked it to be on top of a buff body? Did Burnett not ask what the stipulations for use of the photo were, or did Greenlight not tell them? Because GM stated clearly to Crains that the photo was purchased and Hebrew University is not claiming in their lawsuit that they were not paid for it as some media outlets have stated. They are claiming that the use of it was not authorized by them.

MUST READ: Einstein Inc.

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