• Posted Sep 19, 2001

A FLORIDA State University student is saying she unwittingly and unfairly became a "girl gone wild".

The woman is suing the makers of the Girls Gone Wild video series, saying they videotaped her without her permission while she was topless on New Orleans' Bourbon St at last year's Mardi Gras.

The student, identified as B.G to protect her privacy, did not know she was in the videos until friends told her they saw her in a television advertisement, her suit said.

Other friends told her they saw her topless on a billboard for the video in Florence, Italy.

Her invasion of privacy suit, filed in Leon Circuit Civil Court last week, seeks damages of more than $15,000 and a court order banning further sales of any

Girls Gone Wild videos in which she appears.

Advertisements for the public nudity series run often on television, and its website features titles such as Mardi Gras Co-eds, College Girls Exposed and Sexy Sorority Sweethearts.

Kelly Overstreet Johnson and Kelly O'Keefe of the law firm Broad and Cassel are representing the woman. The suit said the student was with her boyfriend, but the lawyers would not disclose any other information about her.

"She did not have any idea she was being filmed; these video cameras were hidden," Johnson said. Added O'Keefe: "They're really exploiting her, victimising her."

Executives at MRA Holding, the parent company of distributor MRA Video in Hollywood, California, could not be reached Monday.

Legal experts said they had mixed feelings about the suit's merits.

Steve Gey, a constitutional law professor at Florida State University, said case law had not recognised privacy claims in public places, such as on the street.

But courts have recognised a right not to have one's image exploited commercially.

"I don't think the law is all that clear or coherent," Mr Gey said.

Los Angeles-based privacy and entertainment lawyer Neville Johnson also called it "a tough case". The woman intentionally bared herself in public, "but it's troublesome that now she's the unintentional 'poster girl', if you will, for this thing.

"She made a stupid move," Mr Johnson said. "The question is: Does she have to pay for it for the rest of her life?"

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