TODAY   |  March 04, 2014

‘Cute convict’ suing website over police mug shot

Meagan Simmons, a Florida woman, is suing, claiming the background checking company is using her mug shot for commercial purposes without her consent. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> with an image of a young mother that's led to a bit of an online frenzy and now led to a lawsuit. here is nbc's gabe gutierrez.

>> online, she's known as the cute convict. the model inmate, and miss demeanor . but this is megan simmons ' mug shot splashed all over the internet after police in florida arrested her for dui in 2010 . simmons is now suing a website called claiming the background company is using her image for commercial purposes without her consent causing her to feel humiliated and embarrassed and suffer mental pain and anguish. no stranger to social media , simmons ' booking photo exploded on countless websites with comments like, guilty, of taking my breath away and, can i have her cell number? she initially told wtsp --

>> it was flattering at first, but now people know where i live.

>> they deny the claims saying the booking photo was a widely published public record that did not suggest simmons endorsed any product. simmons ' attorney.

>> the only issue really involved in our case is the narrow use of her mug shot to promote this particular product in a way without her consent.

>> online, more private citizens are seeing their images repurposed like this california woman who was shocked to find her photo in a weight loss ad.

>> we often forget that people still do have the legal right to control the use of their image. and that's especially true when it's used by private companies in advertising.

>> a picture used to be worth 1,000 words. now on the internet, it can cost much more. for "today," gabe gutierrez, nbc news, atlanta.

>> good morning.

>> what do you think?

>> laughing at the poster. i want your cell number.