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Woman with attractive mug shot photo sues over its use

March 2, 2014 at 12:18 PM

TAMPA, Fla., March 2 (UPI) -- A Florida woman said she is suing the background check service that used her mug shot photo, taken after a 2010 DUI arrest, in an advertisement.

Meagan Simmons' photograph, taken at the Hillsborough County jail, has circulated on the Internet, joined lists of "best-looking mug shots" and received acclaim as a glamour photo, earning comments including "Guilty of taking my breath away."

It was included in a presentation of good-looking mug shots on the television program "Inside Edition," and Simmons became known on the Internet as "the attractive convict" and provided interviews with media after her photo became famous.

Simmons, 28 and a mother of four, filed a lawsuit last week against the background check service InstantCheckmate.com., claiming the business used her photo for commercial gain in an advertisement, without compensation or consent, the Tampa Bay Times reported Sunday.

The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages and an injunction to prevent further use of the photo.

"This is actually about intellectual property," attorney Matthew Crist said. "If someone is going to use your image, they need to pay you for it. The legal issue is, it's your face and your name. You own it. When someone misappropriates it, that's when you're violating Florida law."

The ad features Simmons' photo with the slogan, "Sometimes the cute ones aren't that innocent."

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