SW Legal Educational Publishing

Musician's Right of Publicity Violated by Use of His Name in Advertisement
Description Musician Don Henley's name was used in playful manner in a department store ad for a shirt called Don's henley. Trial court granted summary judgment on the fact that such use for commercial purpose appropriated Henley's name, a violation of his right of publicity.
Topic Intellectual Property
Key Words Right of Publicity; Advertisement
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Don Henley is a successful musician who was a member of The Eagles and has since performed solo. Dillard Department Stores ran ads for a shirt it called "henley." The ad had a photo of a man wearing the shirt. The text for the Dillard ad said, "This is Don" and "This is Don's henley" and other text used similar plays on "Don Henley." Henley sued for misappropriation of his name; or the right of publicity.
Decision Partial summary judgment granted to Henley. "A defendant may be held liable for using a phrase or image that clearly identifies the celebrity, in addition to finding liability for using a plaintiff's precise name." Dillard's clearly appropriated Henley's name or likeness and there is no genuine fact issue in dispute on that issue. Dillard's claim that this was playing on Henley's name does not change the fact that the store intended to attract customers by using Henley's identity, which has market value.
Citation Henley v. Dillard Department Store, - F.Supp.2d - (1999 WL 239362, N.D. Tex.)
46 F.Supp.2d 587 (N.D., Tex., 1999)

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