The suit, first reported by TMZ and filed yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges Spiegel misused photos he took of the Turner sisters, making them the "faces" of Snapchat sans permission. It's sort of true, in that the above promotional images (first released as iTunes screenshots in the app store) have been passed around for ages now—I always assumed they were just stock photo models. But there's more to it:
The suit continues:
In short: Spiegel told the girls he was going to use their likeness to promote an obscure iOS app called Picaboo which later turned into a wildly popular iOS and Android app called Snapchat. I'm sure it's uncomfortable to have several orders of magnitude more people see your face than you expected, but this is almost certainly an opportunistic attempt at cashing-in on Snapchat's large public rep. It's not even a very good one, either: in addition to punitive damages, the suit demands a share of Snapchat's profits, which are non-existent.
At least we can ever so slightly flesh out a piece of Snapchat's sleazy origin story: two plucky startup dudes invited the Turners to Spiegel's dad's place and photographed them in their bathing suits, allegedly saying it was for a school project, and then, this:
The photographs used by Defendants on the snapchat.me website included one photograph cropped and edited by Defendants to falsely suggest to the casual observer that Elizabeth was pulling off Sarah's bathing suit top and that they were nude on the beach.
Spiegel, in an email to his fraternity, sure seemed happy with the shoot:
The Turner sisters did not reply to a request for comment.