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The Right of Publicity Hastings College of the Law November 19, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "The Right of Publicity Hastings College of the Law November 19, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Right of Publicity Hastings College of the Law November 19, 2008

2 Origins -- Privacy L. Brandeis & C. Warren, The Right to Privacy, 4 Harv. L. Rev. 193 (1890). “The right to be let alone.” Addressed truthful but embarrassing disclosures by the press. Dean Prosser’s four “rights of privacy”: (1) intrusion into plaintiff’s private affairs; (2) public disclosure of embarrassing private facts; (3) publicity that places plaintiff in a false light; and (4) appropriation of the plaintiff’s name or likeness. William Prosser, “Privacy,” 48 Cal. L. Rev. 383 (1960). Fairfield v. American Photocopy, 138 Cal. App. 2d 82 (1955). Plaintiff was falsely advertised as a satisfied customer. Right to be free from unauthorized and unwarranted publicity. Has a suggestion of false endorsement.

3 Origins – Property Right Haelen Laboratories, Inc. v. Topps Chewing Gum, 202 F.2d 866 (2d Cir. 1953). Use of images of baseball players on chewing gum cards. Person has exclusive right in the publicity value of his photograph. M. Nimmer, Right of Publicity, 19 Law. and Contemp. Problems 203 (1954). Celebrities are not concerned about privacy but the right to control and profit from appropriation of their identity. Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Co., 433 U.S. 562 (1977). Right of publicity is an “entirely different tort” “analogous to the goals of patent and copyright law.”

4 Legal Theories Cal. Civ. Code § 3344 Cal. Civ. Code § Common law right of publicity/appropriation Lanham Act § 43(a), 15 USC § 1125(a)

5 Cal. Civ. Code § (a) Any person who knowingly uses another's name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness, in any manner, on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of, products, merchandise, goods or services, without such person's prior consent,... shall be liable for any damages sustained by the person or persons injured as a result thereof. (d) For purposes of this section, a use of a name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness in connection with any news, public affairs, or sports broadcast or account, or any political campaign, shall not constitute a use for which consent is required under subdivision (a).

6 Cal. Civ. Code § Same as 3344, applies to a “deceased personality.” Enacted in reaction to Lugosi v. Universal Pictures, 25 Cal. 3d 813 (1979), where court held that right of publicity, having its roots in right of privacy, are personal rights and therefore not descendible.

7 Common law theories Common law misappropriation of right of publicity: (1) the defendant’s use of the plaintiff’s identity; (2) the appropriation of plaintiff’s name or likeness to defendant’s advantage, commercially or otherwise; (3) lack of consent; and (4) resulting injury. Eastwood v. Superior Court, 149 Cal. App. 3d 409, 417 (1983). Unfair competition/misappropriation: appropriation of work of another that has acquired “secondary meaning”

8 15 USC § 1125(a) (false endorsement) (a) Civil action (1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services,... uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which— (A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person...

9 The Big Battle Right of publicity - property Is it like copyright? Is it like trademark? Is it like other recognized forms of common law appropriation? First Amendment Commercial Speech Expressive Speech News/public figures

10 Arnold Schwarzenegger Loves Spillane Cigars Buy Them Now!

11 Midler v. Ford Motor (voice sound-alike in advertisement)

12 White v. Samsung

13 Sarah Palin Game in Spillane Products Journal

14 Comedy III v. Saderup SaderupWarhol

15 Winter v. DC Comics Johnny and Edgar WinterJohnny and Edgar Autumn

16 Dustin Hoffman v. Los Angeles Magazine “Dustin Hoffman isn’t a drag in a butter-colored silk gown by Richard Tyler and Ralph Lauren heels.”


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