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October 25, 2004 02:00am
Catherine Zeta-Jones Sues Topless Website
Source: AFP

(LOS ANGELES, CA) -- Oscar-winning movie star Catherine Zeta-Jones has sued a small strip club in Nevada for using her picture on its raunchy website, court documents showed.

The Welsh beauty filed suit Thursday against The Spice House, billed as "Reno's Friendliest Topless Cabaret," for allegedly using her image for advertising and promotion without her permission.

Zeta-Jones, the wife of Hollywood prince Michael Douglas, said her image was "prominently featured on numerous pages" of the adult club's web site, according to the lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Los Angeles.

An image of Zeta-Jones appeared on some pages that also contained images of "partially nude women engaged in various sexually explicit poses," the suit alleged.

But club spokesperson Kent Wallace said The Spice House had no idea that the face of the famed actress had been accidentally used on its web site.

A web designer had remodelled the Internet site in October 2003, seeking out images from publicly accessible search engines that did not require royalty payments.

"He was perusing different images," Wallace said. "He was obviously looking for a fetching face."

He said the photograph was removed within hours of club bosses being informed on October 22, 2003 that the glamorous face on its site was that of Zeta-Jones and that Zeta-Jones' representatives had been informed of their action.

Wallace said the club and its owners were "shocked" when they heard that the actress had filed the lawsuit, one year after the incident had been resolved.

But according to her suit, Zeta-Jones has never been to the club and never authorised it to use her image, which forms a key part of her income.

"Any commercial uses of Zeta-Jones' name, image or likeness to promote the sale or advertisement of any products or services ... dilute the value of her celebrity endorsement and lower the commercial value of her name and likeness in the eyes of other potential advertisers," the suit stated.

The images created "the false appearance that Zeta-Jones ... endorsed or approved of the sexually explicit content," the suit claimed.

The actress is demanding damages and an order barring the defendants from using her likeness again.

Meanwhile, Wallace said, the club is taking advantage of its newfound notoriety.

One of its exotic dancers has cheekily rechristened herself Catherine "Ta-Ta" Jones.


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