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2 Dating Websites Sued Over Soldier’s Photo In Ads

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updated 9:40 p.m. 2/27

DALLAS (AP/CBSDFW.COM) - Two dating websites are being sued for allegedly using a fallen soldier’s photo in their ads “Military Men Searching for Love.”

The parents of Army Lt. Peter Burks, who grew up in Collin County, have sued PlentyofFish.com and TRUE.com. They say his photo was used in ads without their permission.

“I went through there and saw it with my own eyes, there is my sons picture military man looking for love. And I clicked through and was invited to sign up at true.com,” said Burks’ father Allen Burks.

peter burks 2 Dating Websites Sued Over Soldiers Photo In Ads

Photo of Lt. Peter Burks (courtesy: Burks family)

The parents’ attorney, Rogge Dunn, says Burks’ photo was taken days before he was killed in Iraq in November of 2007. The photo was taken from unsungherofund.org, a non-profit Burks’ parents started shortly after his death.

Dunn says the site used Burks’ photo in fraudulent advertisements.  “They have not answered questions as to how long they did this how many people were duped into joining true.com or plentyoffish because they saw this handsome military guy in full uniform, square jaw and said ‘wow I want to sign up and meet this military man looking for love.’”

>>See a .pdf of the photo used in advertisements<<

Burks’ photo was removed from the dating advertisements recently. But the lawsuit says the companies misled customers and commercially benefited while hurting his family.

Alan Burks says his son would want the matter resolved.  “We all agree that this is the kind of thing that Pete would say ‘I took a stand and went to fight for something that I believe in.  We need to fight for this and needs to be corrected.’”

Burks’ parents filed the lawsuit Monday in Dallas.  True Beginnings, the parent company of True.com, is based in Flower Mound.  The website operations are based in Irving.

PlentyofFish Media is based in Vancouver.

In a statement to CBS 11, TRUE.com released a statement that said:

TRUE takes these allegations very seriously and will fully investigate this matter.  TRUE has long been a supporter of our brave military (including working with the USO in the past and offering free accounts to active members of the military).

Our hearts go out to the family of Lt. Burks for their loss.  We assure the family that we will fully investigate this matter and take appropriate action once we have the full details of the matter.

Management of TRUE.com would never knowingly use a photo of a fallen soldier to promote our business and looks forward to getting the necessary details in order to take appropriate action.

PlentyOfFish.com said that they did not run advertisements in the United States last year:

PlentyOfFish did no online advertising in the United States in December 2011.

Hundreds of thousands of third parties advertise via POF.com every month, the majority coming through networks such as Google AdSense and ad exchanges. Third parties control the content of ads run on POF.com.

We dealt with the Lt. Burks matter a month ago. The ad has been blocked from appearing on POF.com in accordance with the DMCA Safe Harbor provisions.

In our opinion, this case should not have been filed as the DMCA’s Safe Harbor provisions protects content providers from lawsuits such as this.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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