Reese Witherspoon has filed a lawsuit against a California-based jewellery company for using her image without permission. The Legally Blonde actress filed a right of publicity suit in a California court, claiming that online jewellery e-commerce site, Emitations.com, used her name and image to sell jewellery without her consent. Witherspoon claims that the advertisement in question suggests an endorsement of the brand by her. In addition to using her likeness, Emitations is offering for sale an imitation of Witherspoon’s engagement ring from her ex-husband and actor Ryan Phillippe. She is seeking unspecified damages and injunctive relief.
The right of publicity gives the right to control the commercial use of one’s image. The right has been recognized in a number of US states since the 1950′s and is mostly invoked by celebrities who find their likeness used to promote goods and services without their permission. Interestingly, the right doesn’t exist in England or Ireland. Celebrities must instead make use of alternative legal doctrines when seeking to protect their image in those countries.
Image via Dailymail.co.uk