(CN) - Univision and Telemundo used performances by New York flamenco dancer Maya de Silva without permission to sell pre-paid calling cards, the dancer claims in New York County Court.
Maya de Silva, whose real name is Maya Chafe, demands $250,000 from the Spanish-language broadcasters and calling card company Nobel Inc. for publicity rights violations.
Chafe teaches Flamenco at Manhattan dance schools and has performed at the Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera, and most recently appeared nationally on the Martha Stewart show on the "Emeril's Table" cooking series.
She has also appeared in a Verizon Wireless print ad in the New York Times.
In November 2011, Chafe says she began to receive congratulatory text messages, phone calls, and Facebook messages from friends and students who had seen the calling card commercial on Univision and Telemundo.
The commercial featured flashing images of the Nobel calling card and the names of various countries, including the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Mexico, according to the complaint, juxtaposed with a full-length image of Chafe dancing flamenco.
Before getting messages from friends and acquaintances, Chafe was not aware of the commercial and had not seen it. But Carlos Revollar, a personal friend and well-known flamenco guitarist who often performs with Chafe, had seen it. So Chafe asked Revollar to record the ad the next time he saw it on either network.
Revollar used his cell phone to tape a screen shot of his television set as the commercial aired, and he showed the images to Chafe. Chafe says she had never even heard of Nobel until before she brought this action.
Chafe visited several convenience stores around New York and purchased the calling cards. She claims that Univision, Telemundo, and Nobel never obtained her consent to use her image in the commercial or even informed her they were using her image.
Chafe seeks $250,000, claiming Nobel has harmed her career.
She wants Nobel restrained from selling or distributing the cards in the state of New York and to stop running the ads.
Chafe is represented by William Roll III of Shearman & Sterling in New York.