Why is my photo on a Natty Light coaster?

Another user-generated content campaign gone wrong, ending up with a multi-million dollar lawsuit. This time it’s Anheuer-Busch.

Imagine walking into a restaurant with friends and colleagues, everyone taking their seats at a table and, on queue, your server arrives and drops a couple of coasters at your table before taking drink orders. Then, wait a minute…

“Why is there a picture of me with a fake mustache drinking a Natty Light on the the coaster in front of me and my colleagues???”


Photo by our friends at TMZ

We couldn’t imagine it either since we don’t drink much Natty Light here at BYLINED, but that’s exactly what happened to Kayla Kraft. Kayla found her photo, on a coaster, fake mustachioed, sipping on a bottle of Natural Light as part of the “Every Natty Has a Story” campaign.

Kayla apparently didn’t want her story to be a part of their story, and as a result, sued Anheuser Busch, the makers of Natural Light beer, for copyright infringement and invasion of privacy.

“Defendants reproduced, distributed, and publicly displayed the Kraft photograph without the authorization or consent of Kraft or (her friend), and have created unauthorized derivative works incorporating the Kraft photograph,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants have engaged in a widespread pattern and practice of misappropriating the names and likeness of others for commercial purposes without permission or compensation.”

According to press reports, Anheuser-Busch says that Kraft’s picture was submitted as a contest entry and the content rules grant Anheuser-Busch a license to use the UGC in any and all media for any purpose.

As a platform focused on helping brands and businesses avoid this very issue with user-generated content, it will be interesting to see how this case evolves and is eventually decided.

Also, hat-tip to our friend and advisor, Shaun Pannell, for making us aware of this real case.


From explicit usage consent, to model release signatures, the BYLINED platform is the first and only platform to give brands and businesses owned (vs earned) user-generated, licensed and royalty-free.

Learn more about us at www.bylined.me


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