Meagan Simmons, the woman better known as the Attractive Convict from Internet meme fame, is suing a website that offers online background checks for exploiting her image.
“At the end of the day, this is actually about intellectual property,” Matthew Crist, Meagan’s attorney, told Tampa Bay Times. “If someone is going to use your image, they need to pay you for it.”
She didn’t shrink away from the attention, tweeting about television news features and granting interviews.
“I had just been crying when the photo was taken and I was drunk,” Meagan told Daily Mail last April. “I knew I’d caused a lot of trouble and my parents were really upset and I was really upset. I wasn’t thinking about how I looked at all.”
Her attorney said the difference between those promotions and the one she’s now suing over is that the website, InstantCheckmate.com, is using the photo for “obvious financial gain.” One ad submitted as evidence for the lawsuit featured Meagan’s mug shot and caption “Sometimes, the cute ones aren’t so innocent… Do a background check on anyone.”
Meagan claimed in the official lawsuit that InstantCheckmate.com’s use of her photo has caused her anguish. She seeks monetary damages and an injunction to prevent future use of her photo.
“The legal issue is it’s your face, and your name. You own it,” her attorney said. “You can use it, you control it. And when someone misappropriates it, that’s when you’re violating Florida law.”
There is somewhat of a precedent for Meagan’s case, although it played out across the pond: The woman known as Epic Boobs Girl attempted to sue a British men’s magazine that printed the picture for breach of privacy. The Press Complaints Commission rejected her complaint because she was the one who posted the original picture online.