The hits, legal or otherwise, can’t stop coming for troubled actress Lindsay Lohan: a U.S. District Court in New York dismissed Lohan’s lawsuit, which claimed violations of that state’s privacy laws, against recording artist Pitbull (nee Armando Christian Perez), his record company and others for using her name in a song. The track, Give Me Everything, includes the following line (of sheer lyrical genius?): “So, I’m tiptoein’, to keep flowin’, I got it locked up, like Lindsay Lohan.”
The court also dismissed Lohan’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Of particular interest to entertainment law practitioners, though, also may be what the miffed court decided about her counsel. At issue was New York Civil Rights Law Section 50, which makes it a misdemeanor to use the name of a living person for advertising or trade purposes without first getting their written consent, and Section 51, which provides victims of Section 50 an equitable action in court. Section 50 and 51 are narrowly construed to allow an action only if the use was for advertising purposes or trade purposes.
In the decision, courtesy of THR, esq., U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley denied Lohan relief on two grounds. First, he held that the song was a work of art, entitling it to First Amendment protection. Second, the judge agreed with defendants that just because the song is made and sold for profit does not mean the use of Lohan’s name was used for advertising or trade purposes within the meaning of Section 50. Even if the song was made for such purposes, Lohan still would not prevail because her name was used incidentally and played no part in the main purpose of the work.
Lohan wasn’t the only one taking hits. Hurley slapped Lohan’s attorney with sanctions for plagiarizing several websites and blogs in her memo opposing defendant’s motion to dismiss. A $750 fine and black mark on her reputation were the result.
Now turn up that jukebox, put on your dancing shoes and examine the disputed tune: