Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Mr. T Sues Best Buy Over 'Foolish' Ads (Reuters, April 30, 2003)

Tough-guy actor Mr. T is famed for his scowl and now he is glaring at a discount retail chain that the former "A Team" star says stole his likeness and made him look like a fool in their ads.

The lawsuit accuses Best Buy, one of the nation's largest appliance retail chains, of running a November 2002 ad campaign featuring a boxing scene from "Rocky III," in which Mr. T and Sylvester Stallone fight.

The chain allegedly altered the "noble and serious" boxing sequence by digitally removing Stallone and making it appear that Mr. T was boxing with a "middle aged, balding, out-of-shape" Best Buy salesman.

"At no time did Mr. T consent to Best Buy's use of his likeness, photograph and voice ... to promote Best Buy," the lawsuit said. "Best Buy's portrayal of Mr. T as a fool thus has the likelihood of injuring Mr. T's business reputation and of diluting the distinct quality of Mr. T's professional persona."

Two questions arise.
1) Does Mr. T or the producers of the film Rocky 3, own the rights to his image in that film?
2) When technology can construct films or TV shows with a famous likeness, who will own those likeness?

What says Junto Boys preferred legal expert, Cathy Landry?

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