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Slain UNC student's photo used on billboard in India

Posted March 21, 2012
Updated March 22, 2012

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— University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill officials said Wednesday that they are working to get a photo of former student body president Eve Carson removed from a billboard in India for a company claiming to provide study opportunities abroad.

Carson was kidnapped from her off-campus apartment three years ago, forced to withdraw money from her bank account and then shot and left to die on a Chapel Hill street Two men are now serving life sentences for her murder.

Jubeerich Consultancy uses her image in at least one billboard advertisement in India. The company couldn't be reached for comment, but The Hindu news website in India reported Thursday that the company expressed “deep agony and pain” over the incident and said the images would be removed by the end of the day.

“It was not intentional,” Jubeerich director Justy Mathew, told the website.

UNC officials said the university has a copyright on the photo. It's unclear how Jubeerich obtained the photo, but university officials said neither they nor Carson's family gave the company permission to use it.

Students said they found the billboard disrespectful.

"I think it's probably horrible to have something so meaningful reduced to an advertisement," sophomore Zach Gaver said.

"I think this is really alarming. I think it's unsettling that somebody's photo has been used in this way," junior Erika Nunez said.

Duke University law professor Jennifer Jenkins said the U.S. provides protections for both copyright and privacy, but the rules aren't as clear cut in international cases. Still, she said the use of Carson's image is more a matter of decency.

International laws unclear regarding use of dead student's photo

"It isn't about publicity rights, and it isn't about copyright. It's just about common decency," said Jenkins, director of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke.

Many countries, including India, have treaties enforcing copyright, but not all countries recognize the rights of the people in pictures, especially those who are dead, said Adrienne Meddock, assistant dean of the North Carolina Central University School of Law.

In 2008, UNC forced another company to remove the same picture of Carson from a website to promote its services to college students.

Jenkins said people need to be careful of what images they post online, although the image of Carson on the billboard was widely circulated in the media after her death.

"I'm sure in many cases these uses are undiscovered. Someone actually has to see it and notify the person," she said.

24 Comments

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  • westernwake1 Mar 23, 8:59 a.m.

    GOOD NEWS

    Carson billboard removed in India, company apologizes

    http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/03/23/1952008/carson-billboard-removed.html

    Your emails can make a difference!

  • simplelogic Mar 22, 11:56 a.m.

    It's a billboard in INDIA, for goodness' sake. I imagine they just found a picture of a pretty Western college girl, having no idea of her history, and decided it would be a good image for their company. I can imagine an American company doing the exact same thing with a picture of some random Indian girl. It was just unfortunate that they chose that particular one.

  • Sachseek Mar 22, 11:13 a.m.

    They've lifted the photo off a website and used it as a role model for the "American education" life/students. They surely don't know the history to that face. Inform & educate them and I'm sure they will take down the picture...Indians are very respectful. To that person who wrote "they stole many many many of our jobs" i think you can't hold on to your many jobs because they innovate more, do it faster & better...educate & improve yourself! jeez!

  • trekkie13 Mar 22, 10:58 a.m.

    srobertson stated: "I have one word... COURT."

    US court rulings and orders have no legal standing in India. India is a sovereign nation.

  • MonkeyFace Mar 22, 10:41 a.m.

    Thanks for the email addy TomLynda. I also have sent an email. Some people just have no common decency, regardless of where they live.............I have to say that they may not know her story, they may not know that she was kidkapped and killed. i do agree that they need to take down the picture asap tho. i plan on emailing them myself!

  • dmccall Mar 22, 9:13 a.m.

    ...and could they pick a worse photo to use; the victim of a random killing that underscores the vulnerability of college students?

    Unreal.

  • computer trainer Mar 22, 9:10 a.m.

    They have stolen MANY, MANY, MANY of our jobs, so why does this surprise anyone??

  • lisa4 Mar 22, 9:10 a.m.

    This is so sad. Praying that this picture of Ms. Carson will be removed from the billboard immediately.

  • TeresaBee Mar 22, 9:08 a.m.

    From N&O:

    Justy Mathew, a director with Jubeerich, told the Indian newspaper that he would have the Carson image removed by 5 p.m. today. "It was not intentional," Mathew told the Hindu Times.

    Mathew said the advertising company that had the contract for the billboards may have lifted Carson's image from the Internet. The photograph was widely published and broadcast in media reports of Carson's death.

    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/03/22/1950702/company-apologizes-for-billboards.html#storylink=cpy

  • piene2 Mar 22, 8:51 a.m.

    From their web site,

    "Company Profile
    Jubeerich Group of companies was established in 1999 with our head office in New Zealand and branch offices in Kerala. We are providing Migration, Education, Recruitment, like wise services to NZ, AUS, CANADA, UK & SINGAPORE"

    They have no presence in the United States, good luck trying to get them to obey our copyright laws.

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