Friday, July 4, 2008

Fun With Torts: Misappropriation of Personality

Actionable Tort!

To clear up some apparent confusion amongst his readers, amateur sleuth and partisan muckraker Steve Janke says, “I happen to know, but I didn’t realize that it was not common knowledge, so I’ll explain” (Come on people, aren’t you all experts in tort law?) and then goes on to define the expression thusly: “Misappropriation of personality refers to taking someone’s image and using it for financial gain. So if sold widgets, and tried to boost sales by putting Bono’s face on the packaging, I could be subjected to a lawsuit for misappropriation of personality for having used Bono’s picture without permission.”

So, one has to ask the obvious question: When you take the picture of a rival political leader and utilize it in a prominent fashion as part of an advertising campaign attempting to scare voters away from that leader’s party and implicitly encouraging them through your negative, deceitful, and utterly fraudulent fear mongering to join or contribute to yours (thereby constituting a de facto financial gain for your party, one way or the other), how is that not a “Misappropriation of Personality”?