$2 OFF to $8.9M jury award for Michael Jordan

According to the Associated Press, jurors at a civil trial focused on the market value of the brand that is Michael Jordan ordered Safeway, owner of the now-defunct-Chicago-based chain, Dominick's to pay him $8.9 million for invoking his namesake in a $2 Off steak ad without his permission. 

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The jury sent one note to the judge while deliberating about how much the grocery chain should have to pay for using his namesake, it read:

We need a calculator.

Outside of the courhouse Jordan told reporters, "I'm pleased with today's verdict. No one — whether they're a public figure or not — should have to worry about thier identity being used without their permission. I also hope the size of the monetary award will deter others from using someone else's identity..."

Protecting Your Identity

Although this case was in a Federal Court in Chicago, Tennessee affords the same protections under TCA 47-25-1105, summarized it reads:

"Anyone who uses or knowingly infringes upon the use of another's name, likeness, or image in any manner as an item of commerce for purposes of advertising products without prior consent and will be liable to civil action."1 

Tennessee furthers provides protection by subjecting any property associated with the unauthorized use to seizure and forfeiture to the State of Tennessee. In today's time there are numerous cameras everywhere constantly recording our every move. And with the ability to screenshot [capture the image showing on one's smart phone screen], your once private picture could now be public.

While there is a distinct difference of one taking and sending a private picture to one's significant other and a photographer using a picture from your photoshoot in an ad to attract more business — you have a property right in the use of your name, likeness and image. They must obtain consent before using it in any medium, in any manner.

Are you looking to file a lawsuit, and need to determine if your property right has been violated on your case? Consult an attorney today to make sure your rights are protected.

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