These days, If you choose to listen to a song, it’s tracked. So the brand, let’s say Spotify, now has the ability to sell your choice right back to the artist, in the form of licensing of raw data. This is worth something to the artist who are brands themselves and grow their brand with knowledge of the fan. So should fans sue the artist when the artist gives a fan product they unconsciously needed or wanted and will continue to use? No they shouldn’t.
Celebrities choose to be in the spotlight and flash photography is about as bright as it gets. Heigl and Bullock both agreed to utilize a brand’s offerings, Kathryn bought her products, whereas Sandra could have been gifted the watch, we do not know. It doesn’t matter because Bullock made her money from the film, not from the watch. It costs more money to sue than it does to cut an amicable deal. Management should not have sued, but instead cut a perpetuity deal with the watchmaker on all future sales of women’s watches and a larger share from the specific style used in the ad. Duane Reade should refund Heigl for the groceries and Heigl should let the picture go. No where does it say how much the Heigl photographer sold his intellectual property for, at a one time use. How many times has the same picture been used over and over when sharing this story? Is he getting paid per click? I doubt it, but I bet he wishes he was. How much does it cost to let it go, for good?
We all have choices, we are all brands, and we are all customers. We offer and we take, we sometimes pay and we sometimes use a service for free. (i.e. facebook, twitter, etc..) We all wear clothing and buy gas unknowing of it’s origins, and the more we use those services, goods or products, the more money goes to that company. Politics aside, we all want to make more, and if we continue to offer a great product or service, we hope those who use our product, goods and services, love it, promote it and add value to it.
If a person first pays for the product then yeah sure maybe the brand should reach out and work a direct deal before advertising one’s use of its product.
As with most brand partnerships, the future product should be at a negotiated rate for the consumer driving the top down sale. Maybe Spotify has to start rewarding the Superfan? For the right data, the artist will definitely have to.
In a connected society, defamation and photoshopped false ads are about the only reasons to sue. A court can not rule against a society in which we are all guilty by association.