Law professor: Celebrities ‘right of publicity’ puts First Amendment at risk
University at Buffalo law professor Mark Bartholomew questions whether courts have gone too far in allowing celebrities to sue others for the use or even the implication of their names, images or voices.
This special legal privilege is known as the “right of publicity.”
“If you want to say, ‘Oh, I think this candidate has a John Wayne attitude towards foreign policy,’ that means something, and it communicates it in this very pithy, expressive way that you couldn’t get at without using the celebrity,” Bartholomew explained. “There is a lot of communicative potential in celebrity.”
Lohan filed a lawsuit against E*Trade last year, after the company used her celebrity persona in a Super Bowl ad by making a reference to “that milkaholic Lindsay.” Her full name, picture or voice were not used. E*Trade settled the lawsuit out of court.
Watch video, courtesy of University at Buffalo Law School, below: