Legal Question in Entertainment Law in California

right of publicity or right to privacy

I am trying to find out what legal theory/terminologys I

should be utilizing in an internet search for fed case

and fed statute law as well as California state law

involving the unauthorized use of a celebrity's name for

advertising purposes. Can this celebrity sue the

commercial enterprise which used his name on the

radio to pretend that he had recommended a certain

clothing manufacturer? If so, under what legal theory?

Can he sue the radio station and/or the advertising

company that came up with the radio ad?

Asked on 7/17/02, 12:36 am

5 Answers from Attorneys

Howard Leib Howard D. Leib, Esq.

Re: right of publicity or right to privacy

YoOur title is correct. You are dealing with Right of Publicity and/or Right of Privacy law. California has a statutory right of publicity that protects name, likeness and voice. There are also treatises on Right of Publicity that you can find at your local law library.

Howard Leib

Read more
Answered on 7/17/02, 9:16 am

Amy Ghosh Law Offices of Amy Ghosh

Re: right of publicity or right to privacy

Definitely...that radio station can be sued. Contact me directly, if you need help.



Read more
Answered on 7/17/02, 11:05 am
Erik Hart Law Office of Erik A. Hart

Re: right of publicity or right to privacy

The legal theory involved for misapropriation of a celebrities name, voice, or likeness is "right of publicity." Generally, each state has varying degrees of protection for celebrities depending a great deal on whether they are living or dead.

Several cases you might want to look for are:

Midler v. Ford 849 F.2d 460 (9th Cir. 1988) (given the brief facts you have provided, this sounds similar to your case.)

Astaire v. Best Film & Video 1997 WL 336110 (9th Cir. Jun. 20, 1997).

Presley Enterprises v. Capece, reported at 950 F. Supp. 783 (S.D. Tex. 1996) rev'd 1998 WL 229797 (5th Cir, May 8, 1998). (the "Velvet Elvis" case).

These should get you off to a good start.

Read more
Answered on 7/17/02, 12:09 pm

Re: right of publicity or right to privacy

You probably have a right to sue under California Civil Code section 3344. I have litigated such cases in the past.

Let me know if you need further assistance.

D. Alexander Floum is an experienced intellectual property attorney. Alex teaches intellectual property law to practicing lawyers and law school students.

The Schinner Law Group is a full-service law firm, providing assistance in business, corporate, tax, litigation, contracts, intellectual property and related areas of law.

NOTE: This communication is not intended as and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Rather, it is intended solely as a general discussion of legal principles. You should not rely on or take action based on this communication without first presenting ALL relevant details to a competent attorney in your jurisdiction and then receiving the attorney's individualized advice for you. By reading the "Response" to your question or comment, you agree that the opinion expressed is not intended to, nor does it, create any attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice to any person reviewing such information, nor will it be considered an attorney-client privileged communication. Pursuant to California Rules of Professional Conduct rule 1-400(d)(4), this communication is intended as a solicitation for legal services.

Read more
Answered on 7/17/02, 12:31 pm
Stephen Anderson Anderson & Associates - MYBRANDSONLINE

Re: right of publicity or right to privacy

The unauthorized use of performer and celebrity names may well be a violation of law. If the name is used to suggest that the celebrity has endorsed a product or service, such act may likely be an tortious act (invasion of privacy, false light); it may violate the Lanham Act, it may violate the person's "common law rights" and/or it may be a violation for example, of California Civil Code Section 3344 or 3344.1 (aka the Fred Astaire celebrity protection


Under Cal. Civil Code Section 3344, any person who uses a celebrity name, likeness, voice, or signature without consent for a commercial purpose may be liable for minimum damages of $750 and/or profits obtained by such unauthorized use.

Our firm handles such disputes and thus, if you have further questions, we would be happy to assist.


Stephen L. Anderson, Esq.

Anderson & Shippey


Offices in Newport Beach, Irvine, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. --- websites everywhere.

email: [email protected]

tel. (949) 640-1120

fax. (949) 759-1475


Read more
Answered on 7/17/02, 12:55 pm

Related Questions & Answers

More Entertainment & Sport Law questions and answers in California