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O'Brien v. Pabst Sales Co. - 124 F.2d 167 (5th Cir. 1941)

Rule:

The right of privacy is distinct from the right to use one's name or picture for purposes of commercial advertisement.  The latter is a property right that belongs to every one; it may have much or little, or only a nominal, value; but it is a personal right, which may not be violated with impunity. 

Facts:

Plaintiff famous football player brought a suit alleging a violation of his privacy when defendant beer distributor used his photograph as part of advertising campaign. The trial court found for the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed.

Issue:

Does the use of a football player's signature as part of an advertising campaign violate his right to privacy?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The Court held that the action failed because plaintiff was not such a person and the publicity he got was only that which he had been constantly seeking and receiving; and because the use of the photograph was by permission, and there were no statements or representations made in connection with it, which were or could be either false, erroneous or damaging to plaintiff. 

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