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Singer claims TV network swiped her Christmas song

Singer claims TV network swiped her Christmas song

There's no love lost in this case: Singer Darlene Love filed a lawsuit in California federal court recently against HGTV claiming the home improvement channel used her voice singing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” for holiday promotions without permission.

Ms. Love says she sang the holiday-themed ditty on “Late Night With David Letterman” holiday shows for nearly three decades, but HGTV owner Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. pulled a Grinch on her and tried to appropriate her goodwill to advertise HGTV's programming.

The singer is suing Scripps for infringement of the common law right of publicity and is seeking exemplary damages of no less than $75,000.

Ms. Love alleges the network knew that her performance is protected by a Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists collective bargaining agreement referred to as the “Phono Code.” The suit charges that Scripps deprived Ms. Love of union protection and compensation by bypassing the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract.

The complaint charges that Ms. Love “was deprived of the right to control the use of her identity in connection with the advertising of goods and services and was damaged in an amount in excess of $75,000.00 for the loss of the fees she had a right to charge as a condition of her identity and goodwill being used to induce the public to watch HGTV's programming.”

In January, Ms. Love took similar action against Google Inc. for using her voice singing “It's a Marshmallow World” in an ad for Nexus phones. That suit was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice in April.

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