Analysis

Spy Babe Turns Copyright Troll in New Lawsuit

As a covert infiltrator in the United States, stealing information was Anna Chapman’s job. Back home in Russia, however, it turns out she’s not terribly fond of the practice.

Chapman, America’s favorite counterintelligence threat, is now suing Russia’s News Media Group for using herimage without permission, the country’s state-funded RIA Novosti reported Thursday. Specifically, she’s accusing of the company of “violating the rights restrictions” on “a 56-second video clip taken from her website of her photo shoot with Zhara (Heat) magazine,” according to RIA Novosti. For this violation of her “honor and dignity,” she’s asking a Russian court to grant her a fairly hefty 10 million rubles ($362,000) in compensation and bar the company from future use of her work.

Chapman formed part of a network of bumbling spies sent by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service to infiltrate the United States in search of secrets. After a lengthy and unproductive stay, Anna and her pals were rounded up, swapped back to Russia and treated to a hero’s welcome.

The subsequent pop star status helped her to start a growing Chapman™ empire. Her brand, however, is increasingly at risk from people trying to cash in on her celebrity, hence the lawsuit.

Chapman’s namesake appears on everything from vodka, to perfume to a high-end clothes line, which she trademarked to prevent knockoff products. Trademarks are about more than just stopping someone from pirating your gear. They’re also about protecting your image. These days, Chapman’s trying to branch out into being more than just a sultry *femme fatale *former spy. She’s trying to reinvent herself as a venture capitalist. That can be a little challenging when jokers in the U.S. are trying to make blow-up dolls in your likeness.

She’s also got a potential political career to think of. That, too, requires some public image management. Just ask her pal and fellow United Russia party member Vladimir Putin. Vlad also has an active fan club and is occasionally beset by people trying to make a ruble or two off his name, but he’s keen to set limits on the image appropriation. Just a few weeks ago, someone plastered Putin’s face on a James Bond poster in Moscow to advertise a web game. Authorities then vowed to “find and punish” Putin’s image vandals.

Chapman, however, will have to rely on her lawyers to defend her brand. Take that as a warning, folks. You may be a fan of her website and her myriad photo shoots and videos. Just don’t try and post them without permission, lest you face her legal wrath.

Photo: Facebook/DNAinfo.comSee Also:

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