18 Olympians Sue Over Facebook App

Eighteen Olympic athletes are suing Samsung over a Facebook app they say misuses their names and images.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, say the athletes' beef is about the Samsung Olympic Genome Project, a Facebook app that shows users how they are connected to famous Olympians, according to the Associated Press.
Among the Olympians are swimming greats Mark Spitz, Janet Evans and diving legend Greg Louganis. Also listed are track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee,pro beach volleyball player Phil Dalhausser, swimmers Amanda Beard, Jessica Hardy, Dara Torres, Jason Lezak, Cullen Jones and Eric Shanteau.
"Plaintiffs' names and images and background information are on the Facebook application, in an attempt to link plaintiffs to consumers," the complaint stated. "Prominently displayed on the Facebook application is the Samsung's trademarked name as well as advertising for defendants' `Galaxy' product. Samsung has used plaintiffs' names and images to create the impression that plaintiffs endorse Defendants' products and business."
The plaintiffs say the app violates California Civil Code which makes it unlawful to use another's name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness for commercial purposes without consent. The athletes are serious about being paid because not only are they requesting standard licensing fees, but also a percentage of gross sales of Samsung products since the project launched -- along with damages and attorneys' fees.
The U.S. Olympic Committee, which partnered with Samsung on the app, said that it removed the names of the athletes not wishing to be listed. Not surprisingly, Samsung expressed disappointment in the lawsuit.
It's too bad if Samsung didn't get permissions from the athletes, because the app does give Facebook users a chance at trips to the London, Sochi and Rio de Janeiro Olympics and Samsung products for giving them a lot of their personal information. The genome project is a cute idea, too, but one now marred with a lawsuit and at least 18 unhappy Olympians.
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