From the RUH ROH? Department: Dita Von Teese Suing Macmillan and Some Photo Agency

Book CoverAccording to Yahoo!News, burlesque star Dita Von Teese is suing Macmillan Publishing and a photo agency due to use of her image on Patti O’Shea’s In Twilight’s Shadow.

The papers filed on Friday claim that Dita’s face is “a valuable and integral portion of her celebrity persona” and that the company “commercially exploited her image and likeness to their own gain.”

Looking at the cover ( Larger popup version here) I wouldn’t have guessed that was Von Teese, though I’m reasonably familiar with what she looks like. She, or someone who alerted her, must have recognized the image and known she was the source.

I personally think it’sunderstandable for Von Teese to pursue damages if her image was used without her consent for profit, and if a photo agency sells images they don’t have the rights to sell, then, well, ruh roh indeed.

However, you and I and other members of the Bitchery know that Authors Are Not In Control Of Their Cover Images – but does the average person reading E!Online know that? My hope is that O’Shea doesn’t suffer any fallout from ignorant dipshits saying she oughtn’t have used Von Teese’s image. Patti O’Shea likely didn’t have a thing to do with the decision. Will her name and book title in the press under these circumstances be a good thing or a not so good thing? Let’s hope the “any press is good press” adage holds up for her. Good luck, Ms. O’Shea.


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  1. 1
    Eve says:

    I hope it’s great publicity for Patty O’Shea and her book!! Any reason to get the people out there and taking some interest. However, I get the feeling it might have a bit of backlash with people saying SHE did it and SHE illegally this, that and the other thing – which of course if complete bullshit because she has no control over her cover.

    Here’s hoping it leads to lots of good sales!

  2. 2
    Walt says:

    In 1998, a vector illustration of [actress Hedy] Lamarr’s face was used by Corel Corporation on the packaging and in the publicity for its CorelDRAW 8 software. Lamarr retained Attorney Michael McDonnell and sued Corel for damages relating to unauthorized use of her likeness. The case was resolved in 1999 and settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, under terms that allowed Corel five years of exclusive rights to the image. 

  3. 3
    Sarah Frantz says:

    After a quick Google Image search:  it’s totally her.  Totally.  But I think you’re right, Sarah—someone must have known exactly which picture it was in order to be able to tip her off to it.

  4. 4
    gwen hayes says:

    I am guessing it will be a win for Patti. If they have to release a new cover, people will scoop out the original ones.

  5. 5
    Mistress says:

    I agree that the average person doesn’t know about publishers
    ” authors should be read and not seen” cover art stance = /. It’s unfortunate but I think she will get undeserved flack for this.

    I wish authors did a bit more say in this area. Quite a few of my favorite series, I ignored for years because the cover art was butt ugly and tacky; and I assumed the books would follow suit.

    on the bright side I’m sure the cover they change it too will be better. I’m a Dita fan, but this cover really isn’t the end all be all

  6. 6
    Charlene says:

    When I saw the cover, I ruh-rohed right there in Aisle 13 of Safeway. It’s pretty blatant.

    Although I assumed she licensed her image. She’s a very savvy businesswoman.

  7. 7
    --E says:

    Looks like she’s suing the publisher and the photo agency, not the author, so that’s good at least.

    I think there’s rarely such thing as bad publicity. For every ignoramus who blames Ms. O’Shea, there will be another ignoramus shouting that Ms. Von Teese is a public figure with no right to her image, and running out to buy a copy in support of Ms. O’Shea.

    Yeah, I’m a cynic who believes in the Law of Cancelling Stupidity: for every stupid action, there is an equal and opposite stupid action.  :-)

  8. 8
    loonigrrl says:

    Is it just me or is this not a new thing with celebrities? I swear, there are two books out there (I think published in the last year) that have Keira Knightley and Angelina Jolie on their covers. Has anyone seen these?

  9. 9
    Summer says:

    I actually wondered the first time I saw the cover how they’d managed to get Dita Von Teese for the cover, and why/what the relation was.  I think I finally decided that either there was some reason she was relevant to Twilight or the book that I wasn’t aware of, or it was just a very impressive lookalike.

  10. 10
    Julie Leto says:

    You know, I know who Dita Von Teese is and yet I never would have recognized her as the woman on the cover.  Clearly, though, it’s her.  I just never would have seen it on my own.

    I hope Patti gets some publicity over it…and that the publisher doesn’t decide to recall all the books and not re-release so that this book disappears on account of the suit.  That would be unfair.

  11. 11

    Man, I never even heard of Von Teese before this.  I live under a rock, and I enjoy it there.  :)

    Hopefully Patti O’Shea won’t have any flack from this, but I’m going to agree with the Law of Cancelling Stupidity.  Every person that thinks O’Shea is responsible, there’s going to be others who rush out to support O’Shea.

  12. 12
    kittyfischer says:

    Hm. I just finished this book last night.

  13. 13
    amy lane says:

    And cover art is SO hard to deal with on so many levels as it is—seriously, good luck, Ms. O’Shea—may the book sell huge!

  14. 14
    Matdredalia says:

    First of all, I’m really hoping O’Shea doesn’t suffer backlash from this. It is in no way her fault. And from what I’ve heard, she’s a wonderful author with a lot going for her.

    However, I have to agree that Von Teese is very much in the right for this. She has a huge public image, and SHE is very much a part of that image.

    I hope everything works out well for both of them in the end, but I have a feeling it will. Most publicity is inevitably good publicity and if this causes a huge ruckus, it means more people who might not have heard about O’Shea’s book may have their interest piqued, and the same for Von Teese’s show.

    Here’s hoping!

  15. 15
    Goblin says:

    As soon as I looked at that, I recognized it as Dita.

    It seems like some people catch the resemblance right away and others just don’t. This is the problem with thinking you can slip something past everyone…especially if “everyone” is a sufficiently large number of people

  16. 16

    I would have guessed that was art a la Patrick Nagel, not actually someone’s image. Huh.

    Loongrrl, I know what you mean. There was one from 2007 that I thought looked a hell of a lot like Angelina Jolie. Um…Dee Davis’ CHAIN REACTION, I think…?

  17. 17
    kerry says:

    Another person who has never heard of Dita von Teese and would not recognize her if she came up and hit me over the head with a copy of the book.

  18. 18

    I thought the image looked familiar, but didn’t immediately think Dita von Teese.

    I’ll bet this coverage will be great news for the author and boost sales, but one never knows…

  19. 19
    J.C. Wilder says:

    I find it hard to believe that a respectable publisher would nick a photo of a celebrity for a book cover. I know who Von Teese is and I’m not convinced it’s her. There is a resemblance but VT’s face isn’t quite as symetrical as the cover.

    But that’s just me. :)

  20. 20
    desertwillow says:

    WTF is Dita Von Teese?

  21. 21
    Invisigoth says:

    WTF is Dita Von Teese?

    Modern day burlesque performer, subculture celeb, and exwife of Marylin Manson. 

    When I saw it I thought the woman looked familiar but couldn’t place her.  When you say Dita Von Teese—I say “oh yeah, that’s definitely her.”  If it hadn’t been pointed out to me then I’d have wondered in passing where I had seen her before and then moved on.

  22. 22
    Karl Stiger says:

    I remember watching a movie that came out in 1997 based on book written by the late astronomer Carl Sagan (1934 -1996 )entitled “CONTACT”, where Jodie Foster played a scientist intent on finding a meaning of existence through signals from an highly intelligent entity from another universe. I thought the relationship between herself and the priest was romantic because the two individuals were from different paths of life and I always wondered: Can a romance novel satisfy both the romantics and the intellectuals like myself?

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