In '07, Peter Burks Was Killed in Baghdad. Now His Photo's Being Used to Sell Dating Website.

Categories: Legal Battles
Peter Burks.JPG
Via.
Lt. Peter H. Burks
Peter Burks, as you can see here, was the very model of The American Hero: a Trinity Christian Academy and Texas A&M graduate (he was also president of Pi Kappa Phi) who, after stints working for, among others, the Dallas Desperados and FC Dallas, decided to join the U.S. Army in 2006. According to his parents, Alan Burks and Jackie Hlastan, he quickly moved up the ranks, and ultimately the lieutenant served with the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment. But the Bronze Star recipient was killed in November 2007, when he took shrapnel from a bomb that struck his vehicle just outside the Green Zone in Iraq. Said his father days later, "He told me, over and over and over again, he said: 'Dad, my job is to get my 17 guys home safe. ... Then after that I'll get myself home safe.'"

His family now maintains the Unsung Hero Fund in Peter's honor; says the site, "Since starting in December of 2007, we've sent more than seven tons of supplies to soldiers throughout Iraq and Afghanistan." You'll note that it's decorated with myriad photos of their son the soldier.

And it's a photo of Peter that led Alan and Jackie to the Dallas County Courthouse this morning -- a photo they say is being used to lead folks to the True.com dating site, based out of Flower Mound. According to the lawsuit, which you'll find below, True.com is "attempting to exploit Lt. Burks' good looks and strong jaw image for their own financial gain" by using it in pop-up ads that have appeared on at least one other website: POF.com, which stands for "Plentyoffish."

Says Dallas attorney Rogge Dunn, the family discovered this in December, when a friend of Burks's was on POF.com and was suddenly confronted with the pop-up featuring Burks's image. It read: "Military Man Searching for Love." And there were other ads too, they claim, each just as crass. A click-thru led the friend to True.com.

Peter's family says Plentyoffish Media said it would remove the ad when hit with a cease-and-desist, but that True.com has refused to respond to its pleas. Says Dunn in a statement released today: "These websites are using the photo of a fallen hero simply as a means to make money and that's just plain wrong. This has caused a great deal of pain to those who loved Peter -- his family and fiancée -- and has reopened old wounds." Alan Burks says any money made from the suit will go toward the Unsung Hero Fund: "I just want these companies to admit what they did is wrong and to stop doing it." Burks POF Petition File Marked
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12 comments
Red4
Red4

That night will stick with many of us, and everytime I see his picture I am reminded of how great of a young officer he was. It is a shame that after being confronted about this that the company did not want to take action. Five minutes in a locked room? Nah, they are not worth it.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

RIP Lt. Burks, thank you for your service and I'm sorry this happened to you and your family.

Whenever I see someone's picture on a site, whether it's this site(look at the ads on the right side) or LinkedIn, I always wonder if the person knows their face is in an ad. Just goes to show you that anyone's picture can be pulled off google images for an ad. There needs to be some kind of law put in place to keep this from happening.

Paul
Paul

Welcome to the wide open world of the internet ....

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Disgusting assholes. Good luck to the family - I hope they get plenty-of-cash

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

There's been plenty of cases of it happening, and depending on where a photo is uploaded to, you can even be giving them the right to use it however they feel like it depending on the wording of the user agreement we all just blast through by clicking Accept. 

True shouldn't have done that, but depending on the source of the photo it could've, theoretically, been from somewhere that has the rights to use it. One huge reason not to upload your life to the Facebooks of the world.

Steve bob
Steve bob

Jon, This isn't Plenty of fish's fault. I run a few websites myself and I would have no way to know if the people in the photos on ads that other companies are placing on my site are real. Plenty of fish said in the article that they are pulling the ad from their slot. If I were them, I'd go after True.com for any legal costs they incur from this. 

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

 Maybe we should let Burks' former squad to have, say, five minutes with the upper management of True.com in a locked room.  There is being a jerk and being disrespectful and the management of True.com need to see the shards of their teeth in their bowel movements for a few days.

Oif07
Oif07

I served in Iraq with LT Burk this is a shame RIP ( Dragoon) 2SCR

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