26
Jan/09

"'They Are Not Exact Replications Of These Girls"


So says Ty, Inc. to allegations that it based its new Sasha and Malia dolls on Sasha and Malia Obama. Perhaps they are not exact replications because Sasha and Malia Obama are not 12 inch plush dolls.
There won’t be a suit because sitting presidents tend not to sue private manufacturers when they come out with products that (allegedly) reproduce some name, likeness or other protectable attribute of the First Family (although the former administration did protest a parody that may have implicated Mrs Cheney’s rightss – leading to this blogs first use of the term Coulrophobia).
But if there were a suit I would hope that it would find it’s way to Judge Posner (who is well acquainted with Ty).
p.s. The utilization of the IP and personality rights of public officials (and families) raises interesting First Amendment issues. Several years ago Arnold Schwarzenegger protested the use of bobble-heads that bore his image. I blogged about a different aspect of that matter but alluded briefly to the possibilitiy that his rights to his image as Governor should be treated differently to his rights to his image as a private citizen, even a celebrated one.

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