CHARGES 'UNLAWFUL CONDUCT'
Voice Actor-Coach J. Michael Collins Sues
Voices.com, Alleging Deceptive Marketing
July 13, 2018
(VOXtra) - Well-known voice actor and voice-over trainer/producer J. Michael Collins is suing online casting giant Voices(dot)com for alleged unauthorized use of Collins' likeness, voice, name and an implied endorsement of that firm in its marketing.
The lawsuit filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, seeks a halt of that "unlawful conduct" and "deceptive trade practice" plus a jury trial to determine compensatory and punitive damages.
The actual defendant in the suit is Interactive Voices Inc., d/b/a Voices(dot)com, which is based in London, Ontario, Canada.
"Voices(dot)com has been using my name, voice and likeness for almost a year in violation of a direct order to them to refrain from doing so, which they acknowledged and agreed to comply with," Collins tells VoiceOverXtra.
"They are willfully using my name in marketing their services and falsely implying an endorsement, and are profiting from their attempt to imply that I am associated with their company.
"Therefore, I am seeking legal relief," Collins says. "I look forward to presenting my case to a jury, and believe that a jury will agree with our characterization of the facts."
ABOUT A VIDEO ...
Collins (pictured) is a former subscriber to Voices(dot)com, which sends voice-over job audition notices to subscribers and charges fees for a variety of its services.
Yet like many voice actors in recent years, Collins dropped that subscription over concerns about what the suit describes as that company's "questionable business practices" and a resulting "poor reputation among the general professional voice-over community."
Specifically, the lawsuit cites Voices(dot)com's 'managed service' jobs, whereby the company "allegedly retains a large portion of the budget for the job without revealing to either the voice seeker, or the talent, that they will be retaining a large portion, or how much they are retaining."
But prior to canceling his subscription, Collins recorded a video that shares techniques he had used to book jobs and generate revenue through Voices(dot)com.
The suit explains that Collins was not compensated for the video by Voices(dot)com, yet Collins gave permission to the firm to use that video - until that permission was revoked by him via email on August 14, 2017.
USE OF VIDEO CONTINUED
Then, on or about March 2 this year, Collins was informed "by a member of the voice-over community that the video was being used in a mass advertising campaign to promote the services of Voices(dot)com," according to the suit.
The continued use of Collins' image and likeness in connection with Voices' marketing has caused "irreparable harm" to Collins, in addition to "the emotional distress of having his likeness exploited without (his) consent," the suit claims.
The suit adds:
"Unless Defendants are enjoined, Plaintiff will continue to suffer irreparable and permanent harm."
Voices(dot)com states on its website that it is "the largest online marketplace of voice talent," serving 200,000 voice actors.
As of press time, a Voices(dot)com spokesperson tells VoiceOverXtra: "We are unaware of this complaint, so unfortunately are unable to comment."
J. Michael Collins is represented in this suit by Attorney Robert J. Sciglimpaglia Jr., who is also a voice actor, actor and film producer.
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