I’m not usually one to quote the Daily Mail, but in their Sunday edition they published an article which, once you look past the salacious details, offers a useful lesson in knowing the difference between a written and a verbal contract:
Nicole Forni, a professional model from Cleveland, Ohio, claims that she only agreed to pose for the provocative pictures on the condition that they were not sold on for any ‘adult-oriented’ purposes.
But after the shoot she and her family found the images used on websites for sex guides in Germany and Spain, an escort website in Switzerland, as well as gracing the cover an erotic e-book entitled Horny Housewives of Dubai: Episode 4.
The model is demanding $75,000 from Joshua Resnick, who took the photographs, alongside the slew of sex-related companies who allegedly used them.
Her images have been used on at least two different erotica covers, the NYPost reports.
Update: the photographer disputes a number of details.
While I have some sympathy for her embarrassment, and I don’t want to come across as blaming the model, Forni is going to have an uphill court battle. You see, she made a verbal agreement the photographer that the photos not be used on adult sites, and then signed a standard release contract which didn’t mention the verbal agreement.
This is a perfect example of why everyone, including authors, should always get key contract terms in writing. Or at the very least, get the agreement in some type of permanent form. Even an email exchange would have been better than a verbal agreement because it would offer proof that an agreement had been reached.
Yes, a verbal agreement is a contract, but without a permanent record this case could come down to he said she said. Forni could still win, but at this point it will come down to who has the better lawyer and whether the judge is sympathetic.