B.J. Novak’s Face Is on Products Worldwide. He’s Not Sure Why.


For the previous couple of years, any Swedes who bought a bottle of Calvin Klein’s Encounter cologne had been most likely greeted by the piercing gaze of an American actor.

Same for anybody who bought sure manufacturers of face paint in Uruguay, electrical razors in China or knee-length ponchos in Europe.

Something concerning the man’s acquainted countenance enchanted product makers from around the globe, who selected his inventory picture out of thousands and thousands to characteristic on their packaging. But the person within the image, B.J. Novak, a 42-year-old actor greatest identified for his position on “The Office,” didn’t select to be the face of fragrance or face paint or ponchos.

Someone else selected his image after which uploaded it “years ago” to a web site the place it turned a part of the general public area, he stated on Instagram on Monday.

Though he has had different initiatives in movie and on tv, together with “The Premise,” the FX on Hulu anthology sequence, he’s greatest identified for the character Ryan Howard, who rose from a much-abused temp, to a company govt for the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Off digicam, Mr. Novak was a author, director and govt producer for the nine-season hit NBC U.S. sitcom, primarily based on the British sequence of the identical title.

Mr. Novak seemed to be taking his inventory picture fame with good humor. On Instagram, the place he posted the images of himself on varied product packages, he saved the photographs in a set he referred to as “modeling.” He couldn’t be reached for additional remark by his representatives.

Mr. Novak is in hallowed firm, as inventory photographs like “Hide The Pain Harold” and “distracted boyfriend” have been used and reused around the globe.

The actor Simu Liu has usually joked concerning the time he modeled for inventory pictures in 2014. He stated he was paid $120 to shoot the photographs, which have since appeared in the whole lot from textbooks to Y.M.C.A. fliers. “That stock photo shoot always finds a way to come back and haunt me LOL,” Mr. Liu stated on Twitter in 2018.

Most seemingly, Mr. Novak has not made any cash off his image, as pictures within the public area are free to make use of. But Marc Misthal, a principal lawyer at Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, a New York legislation agency, stated that, at the very least within the United States, Mr. Novak has quite a few potential authorized choices to pursue — if he needs to.

His lawyer can ship cease-and-desist letters to the businesses that used his picture, or he can escalate the matter by suing the businesses, stated Mr. Misthal, who makes a speciality of copyright and trademark legislation.

However, Mr. Misthal stated he thinks the actor is extra prone to pursue a case in opposition to the businesses who made cash off the picture than the one that uploaded the image to a public area web site.

“It’s really the fact that his face or likeness is associated with a particular product, because they’re using his likeness in order to attract customers and basically make money,” Mr. Misthal stated.

But, if Mr. Novak’s Instagram publish on Monday is any indication, he has no plans to take authorized motion in opposition to anybody.

“I am too amused to do anything about it,” he wrote.

He has identified about his double life as a “model” since at the very least 2014, when he posted a photograph on Instagram of his image on cologne packing containers, displaying 5 units of his eyeballs staring down Swedish customers.

He joked on the time, “I am #blessed to announce the launch of my fragrance, available now in a Swedish department store.”

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