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March 16, 2011

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Actress wins image battle with cosmetics firm

A LOCAL cosmetics company has been told to pay Hong Kong actress Kristy Yeung 110,000 yuan (US$16,743) for using her image without permission.

Yeung's management office signed a contract with the cosmetics company, which was not named in court, on August 17 last year.

This said that between September 2010 and August 2011 Yeung would be image ambassador for a skincare product made by the defendant.

The contract would be valid only after the cosmetic company paid a deposit of 200,000 yuan before August 22, 2010.

However, the defendant didn't pay the deposit but still started using photographs of Yeung on its website last September, announcing she was image ambassador of its brand.

After fruitless negotiations, Yeung filed a lawsuit at Jiading District People's Court last November, seeking 1.25 million yuan in compensation for image violation and 300,000 in compensation for mental anguish.

The defendant pleaded guilty to image violation but argued there was no malicious intent in its actions.

It was facing bankruptcy, so couldn't afford to honor the contract, let alone pay compensation.

The company closed its website last October, the defendant added.

Because the cosmetic company didn't pay the deposit, the court judged the contract invalid.

The defendant infringed Yeung's rights of image and name by using her picture and name without approval, ruled the court.

But since the defendant only used Yeung's image on its website, it didn't have great social impact, said the court. Thus, it ruled compensation based on the infringement scope and time.

Yeung, 37, won the Miss Asia title in 1995 and has performed in a number of films and TV serials.


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