Court rejects appeal over star's pictures

Media company must pay compensation after it used photographs of actress without permission in articles that carried details of a plastic surgery hospital and an acting school. 

A court has rejected an appeal by a local media company which had been ordered to pay compensation to an actress whose pictures it used without permission.

Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court backed an earlier decision that the company, which was not named, must pay Ma Yili more than 40,000 yuan (US$5,787) in compensation.

The company used pictures of Ma, who starred in “The First Half of My Life” — one of 2017's hottest TV dramas — in articles that mentioned a plastic surgery hospital and a voice acting school. 

In the drama, Ma played Luo Zijun, a housewife whose marriage is wrecked by a mistress and who later strives to achieve her independence after divorce. 

In July 2017, a WeChat account run by the media company posted two articles using photos of Ma which gave details and contact numbers of the hospital and school. 

Ma took the company to court in July last year to demand it to cease the infringement, make a public apology and pay 220,000 yuan in compensation.

The company argued that it hadn’t infringed Ma’s rights as the pictures they used were from the drama and of the character not Ma herself. 

It said the information about the plastic surgery hospital and acting school was the company owner's personal interest and had nothing to do with making a profit.

The intermediate court said the use of Ma's photos without getting her approval in articles where it promoted plastic surgery hospital services and acting classes should be considered as profitable and had infringed Ma's rights. There was not enough evidence to prove the statement about the owner’s personal interest. 


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