By Anatsasia Koninina
In the case where Australian media entrepreneur and Australian of the Year recipient Itta Buttrose sued an aged care business called the Senior’s Choice for the unethical use of her image without her permission was one of the instances of an unethical type of behaviour by the advertising company.
Many organisations use the name of a well-established brand or the name of a successful individual or a celebrity to promote their own product.
In this case, the breach of Code of Ethics involves her reputational damage.
The breaches of law and ethics can prove costly.
Regulations also occur when the law grants certain rights to individuals in legislation or from the common law and provides resources to mechanisms .The collection of actions is called torts is one of the most important judges made law. (Connect and Convergence, Australian Media Communication law).
Beattie S. and Beal E. state the offence that occurred in a story with Mrs Buttrose is called “passing off” which happens when a person is using a good will or business image to make money for themselves. The “passing off” law also protects celebrities from their likeness used without their consent(Beattie and Beal, p. 24).
The use of the Buttrose’s image on its website and the SEEK website, her interview with the ABC are the breach of the Consumer Act and Copyright.
Using a celebrity’s image means that the company is associated with the celebrity and bought an endorsement of them.
However, Buttrose has found her image on the Senior Choice’s website offensive because her image was placed deliberately next to the text that involved the messages of promotion of the services such as in-home care to the eldest .
According to Kant’s theory “Do it unto another as you have it done unto yourself”, Senior’s Choice acted in an unethical manner towards the celebrity in order to gain more clients.
The Advertising Standard Board also establishes the laws for the advertising companies.
The Australian Consumer Law and general compliance are against the use of celebrity’s images without their consent. And also the celebrity can licence their image and without affiliation with them, the companies can not unlawfully utilise their image to promote their own businesses or products.
There have been a few other cases involving stealing the celebrity images.
The Copyright also applies to this case, there is a breach to the copyright law because the Senior’s Choice used the Buttorse’s image which is licenced and the company has not paid a 75 thousand dollars, a endorsement fee.
Yet, the Senior’s Choice director denies the appearance of her image on the website.
However, the apology was published on the SEEK search website where the image appeared and explanation that the company was not affiliated.
Australian system operates under the common law by giving the grieved people certain rights.
And obviously Buttrose did not care about the fact that the image was published but the community’s perception of her as a reputable person might have been affected.
The case involving Buttrose’s image on the Senior’s Choice was heard in March, 2014