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Couple sues porn author for using their engagement photo for her cover

Ally Hirschlag is a producer/actor/writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY and buys way too many toys for her cats. She contributes to several publications, including Bustle, and The Nerve, and enjoys writing about all things woman. In her spar...

Porn book about Patriots tight end used Ohio couple's engagement photo without permission

There are certain words with which I would never want to be associated. Today, I add the word "gronk" to that list, because it means getting nailed (in the sexual sense) by the New England Patriots tight end Rob 'Gronk' Gronkowski. As such, I can understand why the couple whose engagement photo was used without permission for the cover would be so angry.

However, this couple from Ohio isn't taking the news of their not-so-flattering entanglement with the Gronkowski-inspired porn book lying down. They've filed lawsuits against the claimed author Lacey Noonan for unauthorized use of the photo, and the book's distributors: Apple, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I'd also sue for terrible photoshopping work, but that's neither here nor there.

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The soft-core porn entitled A Gronking to Remember was released as an e-book around the time of the Super Bowl, and therefore has enjoyed some significant success. It's about a housewife who has a thing for The Gronk and masturbates to his games. Not really my definition of hot, but hey, to each his own. Since it's considered fan fiction (and therefore a parody), Gronkowski simply has to grin and bear it. However, he did one better by reading lines from the salacious novella on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Check out a hilarious snippet of it here.

He actually seems to be having a great time reading it. I suppose it's flattering to have porn written about you, especially if it paints you as super strong and sexy. He probably revels in the idea of a woman begging him to "spike [her] through the goal posts of life." However, as a celebrity, he is primed to be the subject of such material. This couple from Ohio was not.

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Since the reading of the novella on Jimmy Kimmel Live, they have received a good amount of unwanted and unflattering attention for being on the cover. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit said "the use of the plaintiffs' image has held them up to ridicule and embarrassment." In fact, the couple has chosen to remain anonymous in all other publications on their story so as to keep further attention to a minimum.

As a result of the lawsuit, several of the novella's distributors have pulled it from their sites, and a new cover featuring a different couple's image has started to appear. Now it's simply a question of who all is to blame for the wrongful use. The e-book was self-published by the author, and as such, the online distributors are claiming they should be protected from "publicity rights claims" under Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act. This is where it gets a bit complicated, but basically, they don't feel they should be responsible for a work that was put up on their site voluntarily rather than commissioned.

Regardless of where the fault lies, the case is being taken very seriously, and was just moved to federal court. The couple is looking to receive "any profits derived from and attributable to" any unauthorized use, as well as compensatory damages of $25,000 and reimbursement for related expenses. While it remains unclear whether the distributors will be held accountable, it's likely the author will be hit for the entire amount, as long as the couple can prove they did not upload the image to the internet for free use.

In the end, the author may have to change the definition of a "gronking" to getting spiked through the lawsuits of life, which doesn't sound like nearly as much fun.

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