Contact: Ram Avrahami Address: 1001 N. Randolph/#110 Arlington, VA 22201 Telephone:(703) 908-9125 Facsimile:(703) 908-0186
"The law is explicit", said Jonathan C. Dailey, who represents Avrahami in this case. "Virginia Code 8.01-40 has been interpreted by the Virginia Supreme Court as creating a property right in a person's name, a right that is vested in all people, including ordinary citizens. When USN&WR received a commercial benefit from Mr. Avrahami's name, as little as it may be, without first obtaining his express written consent, it violated the law."
USN&WR had already admitted in a previous court filing that it had traded Avrahami's name under a 'list exchange agreement' with the Smithsonian. Today's motion reveals also that according to a Spring 1995 edition of the Direct Marketing List Source, a list industry catalog, both USN&WR and the Smithsonian Magazine were sell subscribers' names (2.2 million of USN&WR, 1.9 million of the Smithsonian) for $80-85 per thousand. Mr. Avrahami said that this demonstrates that the exchange of lists is a clear commercial transaction.
"USN&WR has systematically used my name for a commercial benefit, either for receipt of money or as a way to get reciprocal names of similar value so as to increase its own circulation. The law proscribes such practice and the magazine should stop exchanging names without the express written consent of its subscribers."
Motions for summary judgment are filed in cases where no material facts are disputed and the judge can rule on the issue as a matter of law. A ruling on today's motion is expected on the scheduled day of the trial, Feb 6. If the court rules in Avrahami's favor, the court will then consider the issue of damages.
Virginia Code Section 8.01-40(A) reads in pertinent part as follows: Any person whose name ... is used without having first obtained the written consent of such person, ... for the purposes of trade, such person may .. sue and recover damages for any injury sustained by reason of such use. ]
Ram Avrahami is represented by the Law Offices of Jonathan C. Dailey in Washington D.C. (telephone 202-496-1290, fax 202-496-9620).
Information about the case may be obtained on the world wide web from the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, DC (http://www.epic.org/privacy/junk_mail/)