If you’re a viewer of The Rachel Maddow Show or a reader of The Boston Globe, you’re probably already aware that Maddow has been all over Senator Scott Brown’s use of her name to raise money for his campaign. Brown has reportedly suggested that Maddow might run against him for his seat and that Massachusetts voter should SEND HIM MONEY to fight this left-tilted liberal.
Maddow, for her part, has repeatedly denied that she has any thought of running for the Senator’s seat. She also flatly denies that the Democratic Party has ever even approached her about it. Yesterday, MSNBC ran a full-page ad in The Boston Globe saying as much, but Brown’s campaign reportedly continues to use her name for fund-raising purposes.
So I wondered aloud as I watched her show last night: could Maddow sue Brown? From the Citizen Media Law Project:
In most states, you can be sued for using someone else’s name, likeness, or other personal attributes without permission for an exploitative purpose. Usually, people run into trouble in this area when they use someone’s name or photograph in a commercial setting, such as in advertising or other promotional activities. But, some states also prohibit use of another person’s identity for the user’s own personal benefit, whether or not the purpose is strictly commercial. There are two distinct legal claims that potentially apply to these kinds of unauthorized uses: (1) invasion of privacy through misappropriation of name or likeness (“misappropriation”); and (2) violation of the right of publicity. (The “right of publicity” is the right of a person to control and make money from the commercial use of his or her identity.)
Does she have a case? I am not a lawyer, but I would think that if she really wants to stop this, a well-placed lawsuit might help. But then, she may prefer to just enjoy making him appear unethical and well, stupid.