Angel Hou, a Taiwan pop singer and actress, is suing Zhuhai Sunrana Cosmetics Co Ltd for using her picture without permission and for tarnishing her reputation with a breast augmentation commercial.
Hou, 26, who is known for her youthful looks and innocent appearance, is seeking 1.03 million yuan (US$145,070) in compensation from Sunrana, the Nanjing Morning Post and its superior Jiangsu Xinhua Daily Press Group. A public apology is also being requested.
The Shanghai Library is listed as a fourth defendant and is being asked to stop stocking newspapers with the offending advertisement.
At the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court on Tuesday, Sunrana questioned whether the court had the right to hear the case.
Sunrana's lawyer said the case should be handled by courts in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, or Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, because the first two defendants were from those two cities.
The Nanjing Morning Post also applied to add a defendant, Nanjing Jiukuaijiu Culture Broadcast Co Ltd, claiming that the advertisement had been organized for publication by this company.
The court is to set another hearing.
Hou said in the indictment that the newspaper published an advertisement for the Sunrana breast augmentation products eight days in a row at the end of last year.
The advertisement used a picture from Hou's new album without permission, she said in the indictment.
An article beside the picture said Hou used to be frustrated in her career and had been abandoned by her boyfriend because she had small breasts.
After using Sunrana products, Hou's breasts were bigger and she was successful in her career, the article with the advertisement claimed.
"All of this was invented. The advertisement has destroyed Hou's image - she had always been seen by the public as being innocent," said Liu Chunquan, Hou's lawyer.
The suit said many fans had called to say they were disappointed after seeing the advertisement. It claimed many readers could think Hou made the advertisement for Sunrana.
The Shanghai Library was accused of expanding the negative impact of the advertisement by keeping newspapers containing the advert for the public, according to the indictment.
(Shanghai Daily March 19, 2008)