Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Members of Former Rock Band Engaged in False Advertising, Violated Right of Publicity

This posting was written by William Zale, Editor of CCH Advertising Law Guide.

Two members of the former rock band “The Doors” engaged in false advertising under California law by disseminating ads for a concert tour by a band falsely identified as “The Doors,” a California appellate court has ruled. The band members (keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger) also violated the California right of publicity statute, according to the court.

The trial court's finding of liability (CCH Advertising Law Guide ¶61,765) on the false advertising claim was not inconsistent with jury verdicts rejecting trademark infringement and unfair competition claims, which were not substantively equivalent to the false advertising claim, the appellate court determined.

The court upheld a permanent injunction barring the two band members from promoting their concerts using the name “The Doors”; using any name containing the name “The Doors”; or using the name, voice, or likeness of deceased band member Jim Morrison.

Right of Publicity

The band members violated the California right of publicity statute by using the name, voice, or likeness of Jim Morrison to promote the concert tour. A statutory exemption for musical works was inapplicable because the use of Morrison's name, voice, and likeness was part of the overall marketing plan to sell tickets for more than 65 concerts. In addition, no "original work" protectible by the First Amendment was created by the use of Morrison's likeness, the court held.

The not-for-publication decision is Densmore v. Manzarek, California Appellate Court, Second Appellate District, May 29, 2008, CCH Advertising Law Guide ¶63,015.

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