Internet Blamed for Latest Face-Stealing Incident

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Just the other day I was writing (again) about the Case of the Taster's Choice Guy, a former model who posed for a picture in 1986, forgot about it, and sixteen years later happened to see his own face on a jar of Taster's Choice.  (I had assumed that one becomes the new Taster only after defeating the previous one in hand-to-hand combat, but it turns out the company just pulls a picture out of the files.)  Even as we await a decision in that case from the California Supreme Court, we learn that a Missouri family has also had its likenesses tortiously misappropriated, or whatever they call that in Missouri.

The Smiths Reports this week said that Jeff and Danielle Smith, of St. Louis, had learned that their 2008 Christmas-card family photo was being displayed in the window of a grocery store in Prague.  Like the Taster, the Smiths learned this only by chance, after a college friend visiting Prague happened to see their life-size images enticing Czechs to buy groceries.  He took a picture of the picture and e-mailed it to the Smiths, ironically using the same Internet that had allowed the grocer to get their photo in the first place.

The shop owner, Mario Bertuccio, said he thought the picture was "computer-generated," but when he was told it was a picture of a real family, he said he "started taking steps to remove it."  (Step one: remove it.)  "We'll be happy to write an e-mail with our apology," he said, showing he would stop at nothing to make it up to the Smiths.  He also said he would send the Smiths a bottle of good wine, if they lived in the Czech Republic.  Too bad they don't.

It doesn't appear that the Smiths are too upset by the use of their photo, although their photographer is supposedly looking into the matter.  I suspect if they knew that the Taster had ended up (temporarily) with $15 million for the misuse of just one face, they might all get a little more interested.

Link: AP via Yahoo! News