GM stole Einstein for ad
owned by Israeli university; carmaker says it paid
firm to use the photo
By Robert Snell
A university that owns Albert Einstein’s publicity
rights is suing General Motors Co. for unauthoriSed
use of the dead physicist’s image in an ad for the
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem sued GM in U.S.
District Court in California last week for more than
$75,000, accusing the automaker of fraudulently
using the likeness. Einstein willed his publicity
rights to the school before he died at 76 in 1955.
It is the latest advertising controversy for GM,
which has struggled to perfect its marketing pitch
since emerging from bankruptcy last summer.
Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre Jr. was
accused of stretching the truth in a recent
commercial by saying the automaker had repaid its
federal loans; GM made the payment using unspent
loan funds and the government still owns 61 percent
of the company.
This month, GM hired a new marketing guru and
changed advertising agencies for a second time in
recent months for its largest brand, Chevrolet.
“It may be GM thought, ‘Oh, he died and the rights
are all public domain now,’ “ said John T. Brooks, a
partner with Chicago law firm Foley & Lardner LLP
who specialiSes in estates and trusts. “It’s old and
cold and nobody’s got rights to it.”
GM purchased the right to use the Einstein image
from a “reputable firm,” Ryndee Carney, the
automaker’s spokeswoman, said Wednesday. The firm
guarantees clients it has the rights to use the
images, she added.
She would not identify the firm but said the ad,
which ran in People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”
issue in September, was produced by GMC’s
advertising agency Leo Burnett.
“The ad ran just once for that specific issue,”
The lawsuit illustrates the lengths to which
celebrity estates will go to defend lucrative
profits. Einstein’s estate grossed $10 million last
year, making the late physicist one of the top
earning dead celebrities.
Einstein, whose name and image have been licensed
for use in McDonald’s Happy Meals and the popular
Baby Einstein products, ranked ninth between authors
Dr. Seuss ($15 million) and Michael Crichton ($9
million), according to Forbes.com.
The four-page GMC ad that ran in People magazine
featured the dead physicist’s head superimposed on a
half-nude underwear model with an “e=mc2” tattoo, a
takeoff on Einstein’s equation about the
relationship between mass and energy.
“ The tattooed, shirtless image of Dr. Einstein
with his underpants on display is not consummate
with and causes injury to (the university’s)
carefully guarded rights in the image and likeness
of the famous scientist, political activist, and
humanitarian,” Hebrew University lawyer Antoinette
Waller wrote in the suit.
The university owns several trademark registrations
featuring Einstein for use in a variety of trinkets,
including toys, cardboard cut-out figures, pen and
pencil holders, clocks, watches, luggage, umbrellas
and key chains.
The school’s licensing agent, GreenLight Productions
LLC., supervises the licensing of Einstein’s rights
to companies, including automakers such as
DaimlerChrysler AG, Hyundai Motor Co. and,
ironically, Saab, the Swedish brand formerly owned
by GM, according to the lawsuit.
Hebrew University asked a federal judge to stop
GMC from using Einstein’s image or likeness in a way
that suggests the late physicist and college are
sponsoring the automaker’s vehicles. The school also
wants an unspecified amount of money “considering
that GMC acted in intentional and willful disregard”
of the university’s rights.
The Terrain crossover sport-utility vehicle
featured in the ad is one of several new products
fueling a rebound in sales of GM’s Chevrolet, Buick,
GMC and Cadillac brands, which rose 19.7 percent
last month compared to a year earlier. GM also
posted an $865 million first-quarter profit -- its
first in almost three years.
“I suppose you could make a business decision
that you can make so much money that you can
withstand a lawsuit that would tell them to stop and
fine them something,” Brooks said. “It wouldn’t be
the first time a corporation has done something
thinking they might pay the price for it, but it’s
The Einstein case isn’t the first time GM has been
sued by a celebrity for using their likeness in ads.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sued
General Motors Corp. for $2 million in 2005 for
using his likeness in an ad after his contract with
the automaker had expired.
(Courtesy The Detroit News)
launches the newest ‘Starbus’
With public transportation becoming an area of
concern for many due to the lack of proper service
levels still prevalent within the country, DIESEL &
MOTOR ENGINEERING PLC (DIMO) which is a company that
has always emphasized the importance of safe and
high quality public transportation and has taken the
initiative to add new levels of excellence to the
area of public transportation. With this in mind
DIMO takes pride in introducing the latest addition
to the TATA Bus range - the new ‘Starbus’.
The latest range of buses is set to take public
transportation to a new dimension. The Starbus
range, offers variants in seating capacities which
are from 30 to 57 seats and are designed on the
single concept of optimum functionality and comfort.
The hallmark of the Starbus range of buses is
superior quality, maximum comfort to the passenger
and unparallelled operating economy to bus
The new Starbus is designed with a sleek and elegant
look which wil
redefine the public transport sector
forever. The new Starbus exterior and interior is
professionally designed to provide proper
ventilation whilst also allowing natural light to
enter the bus, thus making the journey both
comfortable and pleasant for its passengers.
The manufacturer, TATA Motors is committed towards
making bus transport safer than any other form of
motoriSed transport and therefore every aspect of
the design, development and fabrication of the
Starbus is driven by this common principle. The
Starbus body shell undergoes extensive testing on
specially constructed torture tracks. Flinite
Element Analysis (FEA) ensures optimum strength and
weight at each point of the bus body. Reinforced
side panelling is capable of withstanding crash
impacts. Each and every aspect of the bus body
conforms to the most stringent motor vehicle rules.
Safety of the passengers as well as other users of
the road can be ensured only when the visibility of
the driver is unimpaired therefore the vehicle’s
single-piece front windshield allows the driver to
have an unobstructed view of the road.
The vehicle’s strategically positioned rear-view
mirrors further add to the convenience of the
driver. The Starbus is also specially equipped for
night driving. The headlamps are designed so as to
provide a dip/beam, which makes the quality of
illumination in front of the bus much better than
ordinary head lamps. The exemplary ergonomics of the
driver’s cabin offer the best possible conditions
for concentration and mental alertness for the man
in charge. The driver’s seat is mechanically
suspended which allows him to position the seat as
per his requirements. The new suspension system
ensures a noiseless journey to commuters, better
manoeuvrability to the driver furthermore less wear
and tear to tyres, kingpins, wheel bearings and body
The Starbus is powered by 6 cylinders, water cooled
and turbo charged. The Cummins diesel engine has the
capacity to generate up to 125HP. Another feature
that is included in the Starbus is the clutch
booster mechanism, which ensures minimising the
fatigue of the driver. The new inline type fuel
injector pump provides a better fuel average which
in turn helps to reduce operating costs.
This Starbus is designed to make the passengers’
journey a comfortable one. The seats are
ergonomically designed with soft head flaps and
offer sufficient leg room. Extensive use of
sound-absorbing material ensures reduction of noise
levels in the passenger cabin. The Starbus is fully
built by TATA Motors and these buses are designed to
suit the Sri Lankan market.
At TATA Motors, every effort is aimed at
delivering superior quality and the Starbus body
stands testimony to this. The GP stretch panels used
for body building result in a high-strength, durable
body. This in turn implies lower maintenance cost
and higher re-sale value. The aluminium skirting
panels provide an excellent surface finish without
any rough or protruding edges. Furthermore the
brilliant white body colour, along with superior
surface finish, projects a classy external
appearance. The customers are able to purchase A/C
and non A/C buses as well. With all these features
DIMO is offering an unmatched warranty. DIMO
authorised islandwide service and genuine parts
network is also available for Starbus customers.
The first 25 Starbuses were handed over to Bus
Owners by the Chairman of DIMO Mr. Ranjith
Pandithage in the company of Vijitha Bandara,
General Manager TATA Commercial Vehicle Division.
The ‘Key handing-over ceremony’ to the owners of the
buses took place at the Commercial Vehicle Service
Complex in Mahena Road, Siyambalape on Monday the
May 24, 2010. DIMO is confident that Starbus will be
able to revolutioniSe and upgrade the future of
public transportation in Sri Lanka.
launch free taxi meter project for three wheelers
Abans recently launched a major CSR project to
provide Free Digital Taxi Meters to three wheeler
taxis in the Colombo area.
This multi million rupee project has been sponsored
by Sanyo Co. of Japan whom Abans represent as Sole
Agents for their products in Sri Lanka. Sanyo is one
of the leading brands of electronics and home
appliances in Japan and globally recognised as a
The first stage of the project is aimed to provide
1000 three wheelers in the Colombo area with taxi
meters absolutely free of charge and subsequently
extend the service to three wheelers in other towns
and cities in Sri Lanka.
The project will provide mutual benefits to both
commuters as well as three wheeler operators.
Commuters can look forward to a hassle-free three
wheeler taxi service without the embarrassment of
having to negotiate and bargain before embarking on
a journey. It will also create professional dignity
and respect of three wheeler drivers and ensure more
hires through enhanced commuter confidence. It would
also ensure that they will be paid for waiting time.
Now you can stop a SANYO branded three-wheeler
taxi and travel with peace of mind that you are
being charged a regulated fare. A spokesperson for
Abans cautioned commuters to check that the meter is
switched on with the correct fare indicated when you
commence your journey. He also stressed that Abans
is providing a free service to three-wheelers in
return for branding SANYO’ and that they do not own
the vehicles. As such, they do not hold themselves
liable to commuters in any way.
The taxi meters will indicate Rs.50/- for the
first km when switched on and Rs.30/- per km
thereafter, and will indicate the amount due at any
time as the journey proceeds. The meters will
indicate an overtime surcharge of one and a half
times the normal fare during 10.00 p.m. and 5.00
Abans have been engaged in many noteworthy CSR
Projects lending assistance to schools, homes for
elders and children and providing houses to many
families who were rendered homeless by the Tsunami.
Abans have always endeavoured to play a major role
in helping local authorities to keep the city clean
and maintaining and beautifying centre islands and
roundabouts in Colombo and suburbs.
|Singer and Lumala Cycle to
Singer, the #1 public brand in
Sri Lanka, and Lumala, the market leader in bicycle
manufacturing, recently announced that Lumala
bicycles will now be available through all Singer
outlets, including Singer Mega, Singer Plus, and
Sisil stores, as well as dealers island-wide. This
partnership between two giants in their relative
industries was greeted with widespread excitement by
Sri Lankan cycle lovers who are well aware of
Lumala’s reputation for customer satisfaction and
This commitment to delighting customers is shared
by Singer, which rode away with the most coveted
prizes at the recently concluded People’s Awards.
Adjudged Sri Lanka’s ‘Brand of the Year’, ‘Best
Consumer Durables Brand’, and ‘Youth Brand of the
Year’, Singer has built its reputation on
maintaining the highest standards of product and
service quality. The awards, which were based on the
results of extensive surveys conducted by Nielsen
Company, a leading market research firm, reflect the
strength of the relationship shared between Singer
and the Sri Lankan consumer.
With the addition of Lumala bicycles to the
extensive product range sold at its retail outlets,
Singer aims to make the shopping experience as rich
as possible for its customers. Offering a staggering
variety of branded consumer products at over 360
retail outlets island-wide, Singer’s customers have
access to the lifestyle of their dreams anywhere in
the country. From Singer Sisil, Unic, Hitachi,
Whirpool, Philips, Kinetic, Farmmaster and many more
branded products including newly introduced lap top
computers to Lumala bicycles, Sri Lankans can easily
step into a Singer outlet and purchase exactly what
After making a purchase, Singer customers can
relax in the knowledge that they can rely on the
company’s world-class service network. This network,
which spans across the entire island and includes 7
regional service centres and more than 100 service
franchise agents, ensures that customers get the
very best after-sales service possible at a location
convenient to them. With the company’s innovative
Sanasuma extended warranty scheme, customers are
guaranteed of total peace of mind after making a
The partnership between Singer and Lumala bicycles
is aimed at giving Singer’s customers a more
complete range of products. Customers can now walk
into any Singer retail outlet and cycle away with
the bike of their dreams.