Thursday, January 12, 2012

Once again a knowledge of obscure pop culture saves the day

Impressionist Will Jordan used to do a routine built around the idea of a threat, an actor kept under contract because of a resemblance to one of the studio's stars. The point of a threat was two-fold: to give the studios a ready replacement if a star dropped out and to let the stars know that they could be replaced.

I was reminded of threats when I came across this section of Felix Salmon's latest instalment of the adventures of Ben Stein:

But my favorite bit of the complaint is where he complains that the ad which did end up running, featuring Peter Morici, is “an explicit misappropriation of Ben Stein’s likeness and persona, which is an explicit violation of Ben Stein’s rights of privacy and of publicity, barred by California law”.

In other words, this ad, while it might look to all the world as though it features a real economist who’s much more qualified on such matters than Ben Stein, is in fact an illegal violation of Ben Stein’s privacy, which uses the likeness of Ben Stein. Maybe Stein thinks that Morici should wear a long blonde wig, or something, to make him look less Stein-esque?

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