One might think Lindsay Lohan would be grateful for anything that could prolong the inexplicably persistent shelflife of her minor celebrity, but no: the starlet took umbrage at mention of her in a rap song by Pitbull, claiming that this misappropriated the use of her name, characterisation and personality for advertising, trade or commercial benefit, contrary to New York’s Civil Rights Law. (The immortal lines at issue are ‘So, I’m tiptoein’, to keep flowin’ / I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan.’ Rather flattering, actually.) The rapper (real name Armando Christian Perez) moved successfully to have the claim dismissed: Lohan v Perez (EDNY, 21 February 2013).
Senior District Judge Hurley noted that New York’s statutory right of privacy is limited in scope, and will always be trumped by the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. Pitbull’s song, as a protected work of art, therefore could not violate New York privacy law. Lohan’s name and personality were not used for advertising or trade, even though the rapper intended to make a profit from the work in which they were used — and in any event, the reference to her was so ‘fleeting and incidental’ as not to be offensive under state privacy law. Lohan’s claims of unjust enrichment and intentional infliction of emotional distress were also summarily dismissed. In short, get a life, Lindsay.