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Kardashian and Old Navy Settle Lawsuit Over Advertisement

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Kim Kardashian by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer on Flickr

Kim Kardashian by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer on Flickr

Kim Kardashian has reached an agreement with Old Navy over a commercial that the socialite and businesswoman claimed ran afoul of her publicity rights.

The 2011 Old Navy advertisement in question, “Super C-U-T-E,” featured a singer/model who Kardashian claimed looked so much like her that her fans could be confused into believing that she herself was endorsing the retail chain. Kardashian, along with her sisters Kourtney and Khloe, have their own clothing boutiques called Dash; they also have an endorsement deal with Sears.

No details of the Kardashian-Old Navy settlement have been made public, but the Los Angeles Times notes that $15 million to $20 million were numbers being discussed last summer.

During the lawsuit, Old Navy had maintained that there was never meant to be a reference to Kardashian in the ad and that Melissa Molinaro was a notable personality on her own.

What exactly are “publicity rights?”

Under many state statutes, the right of publicity prevents the use of another’s name, image, likeness, or other recognizable aspects of his or her persona for commercial gain without permission. Plainly put, this body of law grants an individual the right to control commercial use of his or her identity, although the specifics do vary by state.

Publicity rights of celebrities often end up in legal proceedings because stars’ images are their stock in trade. When someone uses another’s image or likeness without permission, he or she runs the risk of violating that person’s “right of publicity.” Note that you don’t have to be famous in order to have the right of publicity either.

Here’s the advertisement that was the subject of the Kardashian-Old Navy lawsuit:

What do you think? Did Old Navy violate Kardashian’s publicity rights?

For more information on the right of publicity, see What to Know About Rights of Publicity.


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August 30th, 2012 at 2:09 pm