Family of soldier sue dating sites for using his picture five years after his death
THE AMERICAN parents of a soldier killed in Iraq five years ago have launched a legal action against two dating websites who they allege are using his picture.
The photo of US Army Lieutenant Peter Burks (26) was taken just days before he was killed in Baghdad in 2007, his father Alan claims.
It is on the website of the family’s Unsung Hero Fund which provides supplies to troops in war zones.
They are suing PlentyofFish.com and True.com whom they allege are using their son’s photo on their ads that proclaim “Military Man Searching For Love.
The lawsuit alleges that the companies used Peter Burks picture without the family’s permission, benefitted financially and misled the public. They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
Last December, a friend recognised Peter Burks in an ad on PlentyofFish.com, clicked on it and was directed to True.com, Alan Burks said. He said his son was engaged at the time of his death, so the idea that he was trying to meet women online as the ad portrays "couldn't be more wrong".
"I felt horrified, disgusted. It upset me," Alan Burks, who lives in Dallas, told The Associated Press.
Vancouver, British Columbia-based PlentyofFish Media spokesman Paul Bloudoff said the company didn't advertise online in the US in December. He said hundreds of thousands of third parties advertise via his company's site every month, and that it cannot control nor know about the content of those ads.
Even so, the ad has been blocked from the company's network, he said.
"We dealt with this matter a month ago," Bloudoff said in an email. "In our opinion, this case should not have been filed."
True.com President Ruben Buell said on Monday that he hasn't seen the lawsuit but "will be researching this diligently". He said the Dallas-based company, whose official business name is True Beginnings LLC, buys ads that run on other dating websites but does not know what happened in this situation.