Saturday, September 8, 2007

Hallmarks "That's Hot" Paris Hilton Satirical Card A Commercial Appropriation of Identity?



First, Paris is hot. (This time of year it is in the 90's.) Paris Hilton not only has sizzling looks, but she also apparently has a temper. Hilton is suing over a Hallmark card that uses her picture and the catchphrase "That's hot." Hilton suit against Hallmark Cards Inc. in U.S. District Court seeks an injunction and unspecified damages. The card, "Paris's First Day as a Waitress" depicts Hilton's face on a cartoon waitress serving a customer. "Don't touch that, it's hot," says the cartoon waitress.
Hilton owns the trademark "That's hot," since Feb. 13, 2007. (Paris, waitresses have been saying this ever since I can remember!)

Hilton claims commercial appropriation of identity, invasion of privacy, misappropriation of publicity, false representation that Hilton endorses the product, and infringement of a federally registered trademark.
Damages would be calculated from profits on the $2.49 cards. Hilton is represented by an excellent attorney, Brent Blakely.

Hallmark claims the card is a parody, which is normally protected under fair-use law according to Hallmark spokeswoman Julie O'Dell. "These cards take a satirical look at news and gossip surrounding these public figures, including Paris Hilton, and we do not believe Hallmark has violated any of Ms. Hilton's rights."

Paris, even if you win the lawsuit, your entitlement to the profits may be offset by the increased value it brings to your popularity. One would think you might be honored by the card which is in the collection of those with other famous figures. You might want to consider taking your new alcohol free lifestyle and getting some publicity through some charity work. It is not like you need the money right now...

Update 9-11-09: Paris once again demonstrates that she has brains (as well as a good legal team) and beauty. A recent hearing in California before three judges at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted Hilton the opportunity to pursue her case against the company. The panel recected Hallmark's claim that the cartoon was of a generic woman and not Paris Hilton. Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain said, "The basic setting is the same: we see Paris Hilton, born to privilege, working as a waitress. (Hilton) has at least some probability of prevailing on the merits before a trier of fact."

26 comments:

billy said...

Paris, you are hot. The card, "it's hot." Where do I send my dime for your share of the profits?



Billy

ginger said...

Paris, give me a break. It is not like you need the cash.



Ginger

Dollar Bill said...

She is quite the business woman. For her it is just cashing in on what is owed to her.


Dollar Bill

colleency said...

Never thought I'd see the day that I'd be on Paris' side, but I am on this one.

I don't know Law - but it seems to be common decency that if you're going to use someone's image to sell your product, you need (a) their permission, and (b)to share the profits with them.

(didn't athletes recieve financial compensation for having their faces on Wheaties boxes?)

Ron said...

I am not an attorney either, but I have read that public figures like Paris do not have to agree to their images being used this way. Now the videos, that's another story.....

Legal Pub said...

Paris, just thank goodness it was not a video Hallmark was marketing. You have a good attorney, I presume you are listening to good legal advice.

Ms. Calabaza said...

I don't know if she has a case, but she sure sounds GREEDY. . . what can I tell ya, I don't like her. I think she's an awful role model and I hope she loses the case! But that's just my opinion . . . not that I am opinionated . . .

Legal Pub said...

Freedom to express one's opinion, Ms. C., is what makes this country great.

Ron said...

Pubmeister,

Any chance you are representing Paris in this case? Could be profitable on a contingency basis........

Legal Pub said...

Ron, while I have tried nearly 100 jury trials, none have involved copy right infringement which is really a specialized area of practice.

Anonymous said...

Satirical.... look that up. She is a public figure. "Thats Hot!" is only words... Every time my son is about to touch the stove his mom says, "that's hot!"


Harry

Grandma Jones said...

Several months later and Paris is still hot. But one day, Paris, you will be old and wrinkled. You will need to look into the mirror and decide am I the person that I wanted to become...

Grandma Jones

Anonymous said...

Not sure Grandma Jones, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Paris has no trouble looking herself in the mirror...

Anonymous said...

Not sure Grandma Jones, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Paris has no trouble looking herself in the mirror...

Anonymous said...

She is a public figure. She can't win this suit!

Anonymous said...

Paris is hot!

california surfer dude said...

I don't know how public her "figure" is, but I can tell you it is sweet!

For $100,000 Paris will appear at a party. If all the dudes at the beach scraped together their spare change at the beach, we might be able to come up with enough to buy a couple bottles of wine from France, but no Paris.

Surfer Dude

Anonymous said...

Paris has the best body money can buy!

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Anonymous said...

Yes, most of us like Paris H. alot and wish she makes good choices so that she can be a positive role model.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Whats that got to do with the story. If you are fishing for a free ad, at least try to comment on the story.

Anonymous said...

Keep us posted on Hank's progress toward resuming life.

Anonymous said...

Paris has done well for her self.
Tres Bien!

Anonymous said...

But of course.

Anonymous said...

Paris is a brand you can take to the bank!