For example, a court ruled that an abortion opponent, who registered domain names containing the names and nicknames of his ideological rivals, hijacked their names for his own benefit. See Faegre and Benson, LLP v. Purdy, 367 F. Supp. 2d 1238 (D. Minn. 2005). The court also found that the accused had committed embezzlement using a form of sock puppetry – that is, he was posting comments on his own Bulletin Board, in which he posed as a lawyer from a law firm who was fighting for abortion rights; In these comments, he expressed opinions and opinions in favour of his own position that abortion is immoral. See Faegre and Benson, LLP v. Purdy, 447 F. Supp.
2d 1008 (D. Minn. 2006). In another case, a professor created non-commercial websites and email accounts containing parts of the names of several of his former colleagues. With these email accounts, the professor then sent emails to a number of universities purporting to appoint these former colleagues to university positions and redirect readers to his websites containing critical messages about nominees. When the university and his former colleagues filed a complaint, an Indiana court found that he had committed malfeasation. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the trial`s decision and found that the professor had used the names of the plaintiffs for his own benefit, “because [the hijacking] allowed him to pursue personal revenge.” Felsher v. Univ. of Evansville, 755 N.E.2d 589, 600 (Ind.
2001). Another problem occurs when someone creates a fake profile on a social networking site. In these cases, the person whose name or image is misused is not an account holder and has not given consent. The law is not yet regulated on this point, but it would appear that a person whose name or image is written on a false profile may have a valid right to embezzlement and/or violation of the right to publicity. In addition, fake profiles often lead to defamation claims against the person who posted the fake profile. See Law.com`s article, Fake Online Profiles Trigger Suits, for examples. From the site operator`s perspective, defamation claims based on falsified profiles do not pose a serious legal threat, as Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act (CDA 230) provides immunity for defamation claims based on the content of third parties. For more information on immunity from liability for user-generated content, please see CDA 230 immunity. The First Amendment and the laws of many states also protect your use of someone`s name or image in creative works and other forms of entertainment.
This category includes novels such as mention of real characters, historical fiction, films based in bulk on real events, “documentaries,” works of art that contain the photo or image of an individual, and parody acts directed at a person. Some state laws expressly relieve this type of work of liability in cases of embezzlement or violation of the law of advertising.