As recently mentioned
, we've been seeing more and more "publicity rights" type claims, that seem pretty problematic from a basic free speech standpoint. Take, for example, this new lawsuit, filed by Summit Entertainment, the studio that produces the Twilight movies, against fashion designer B.B. Dakota
. The backstory
here is that, apparently, the character of "Bella" in the Twilight movies was supposed to wear a brown hoodie, but it didn't look right:
'I was planning to use the brown hoodie for that sequence, but the director of photography hated the fact that her hair and the jacket were both brown and felt she got lost in it,'' says Chuck, who then made a last-minute run to outlet store Nordstrom Rack to hunt for a replacement. ''I literally brought that blue one on set just before they rolled cameras. Then Catherine said, 'Wendy saved the day!' That made me a hero.''
Sensing an opportunity, B.B. Dakota reissued the jacket with an advertising campaign around the fact that it was worn by Bella in the movie. That's a factual statement. But, of course, Summit doesn't want anyone profiting from what it's done without paying them first, so it's suing. This isn't new for Summit, of course. It's sued to stop a documentary
about the town where the Twilight movies take place, as well as shut down a Twilight fanzine
. Now, to be fair, B.B. Dakota did
rename the jacket the "Twilight Jacket." So, yes, it's clearly trying to capitalize on the association. But, it's a factual association. Why should that be illegal?