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Tara Reid sues producers over Sharknado slot machines

Actress Tara Reid is suing the producers of Sharknado for using her image without her permission.

Reid has starred in all the “Sharknado” movies since 2013, and they have been produced by Asylum Entertainment and published by SYFY Media Productions.

She said Asylum Entertainment has licensed her image to manufacturers of slot machines, gambling products and beer makers, who in turn have marketed their product with her likeness, and profited from it.

Reid’s terms of contract were very specific in that her face could not be used in Sharknado’s promotional material if it related to tobacco, gambling, hygiene or sexual products.

She is seeking US$100 million in damages from Asylum Entertainment and SYFY Media Productions which publishes them, alleging “false endorsement and misappropriation of celebrity likeness.” She is also seeking an injunction that would prohibit her likeness from being used on any future products.

Asylum Entertainment is known for producing low-budget, direct-to-video movies. They sometimes make movies that have titles and scripts very similar to those of current blockbusters in order to lure customers. Known as “mockbusters”, some of these movies have skirted too close to the edge of copyright infringement and have been sued by major studios who claim Asylum is coasting on the promotional campaigns for their big budget films.

Asylum released “Transmorphers” in 2007, which obviously sounds similar to the blockbuster “Transformers”.

Another Asylum movie, “The Day The Earth Stopped”, was threatened with legal action by 20thCentury Fox in 2008 because it is too similar to their movie, “The Day The Earth Stood Still”. In 2013 Warner Bros, New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and The Hobbit producer Saul Zaentz filed a lawsuit against Asylum for their film “Age of the Hobbits”. The lawsuit resulted in a temporary restraining order preventing Asylum from releasing the film on its scheduled release date. Asylum changed the movie’s name to “Lord Of The Elves”.

Most Asylum movies have budgets that range from US$500,000 to US$2 million. Practising strict control over costs, they are reportedly profitable with each movie carrying profit margins of about 25% to 50%. But with Tara Reid asking for US$100 million in damages, they might find it difficult to fork out the money if she wins.

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Mark Laudi

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