Sue this way

The AP reports (via Mrs. LOC again!) a pretty unusual intellectual property (well, let’s say abstract property) lawsuit involving bloggers.  Steven Tyler, the man who made Mick Jagger’s lips look those of Frank Burns, is suing anonymous bloggers who have posted blogs purporting to be written by him and which are evidently very invasive:

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Tyler, 60 [Ouch! — sorry, couldn’t be helped — LOC], said he didn’t know the real names of those who have impersonated him and girlfriend Erin Brady on the Web, but he believes the same group was responsible for similar postings in 2007.

At that time, Tyler asked Google to remove the blogs, and the Internet company complied.

The latest batch of impersonator blogs, which show pictures of Tyler, the lead singer for the rock group Aerosmith, were posted at Blogspot.com, the lawsuit said. One posting had 31 entries for 2008, and another written by “Brady” had seven entries in recent months, the lawsuit said.

“The impersonated statements relating to (Tyler’s) mother are perhaps most hurtful given that she recently passed away,” the lawsuit stated.

Tyler’s lawsuit accuses the bloggers of public disclosure of private facts, making false statements and misappropriation of likeness. It also seeks an injunction to have the defendants stop impersonating him online or elsewhere.

California is for sure the place to sue for that sort of thing.  The Hollywood State — where some people’s “personalities” are worth gazillions of dollars even if in truth they have no actual personality at all — has a specific statutory right of publicity, Cal. Civ. Code  Sec. 3344, that prohibits the unauthorized use of the “name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness” of another.  It also has a slew of “privacy” statutes.

The story says the blogs have already been pulled, but Tyler will probably push forward this time to unmask the perpetrators and get his injunction.  It will be interesting to see if he’s succesful at the former endeavor, upon which the latter depends.  It’s one of the diciests tasks in Internet-related litigation, and especially in California.  No, no “Dream On” punchline — fellow looks like he’s hurting here.  But when weighed against the vaunted, seemingly absolute value of Internet anonymity, does California really care?

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Author:Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

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