Avvo’s Attorney Profile Pages Don’t Violate Publicity Rights–Vrdolyak v. Avvo

7 02 2017

Publicity right laws often prohibit the use of third parties’ names (or other aspects of their personalities) “for commercial purposes.” So what’s a “commercial purpose”? Fuck if I know. We might make the term coextensive with the Constitutional law definition of “commercial speech,” but that provides precisely zero help because there are multiple inconsistent definitions of that term too. Because no one really knows the commerciality borders for publicity rights (or any other) laws, defendants sometimes struggle to get quick courtroom wins in publicity rights cases, even when they publish obviously editorial content.

Against this backdrop, Avvo scored a nifty early victory in a case challenging its attorney profiles. Avvo creates the profiles without consent from the profiled attorneys, and then displays advertising on the profiles and uses them to upsell Avvo memberships.

Case citation: Vrdolyak v. Avvo, Inc., No. 1:16-cv-02833 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 12, 2016). The initial complaint (Bernstein v. Avvo).



The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2016/09/avvos-attorney-profile-pages-dont-violate-publicity-rights-vrdolyak-v-avvo.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



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