The District Court for the Central District of California has awarded Clint Eastwood $6m in damages, plus his costs, after a Lithuanian company used his name and image to promote CBD products without his permission.

The defendant in the case is reported to have published a fake interview with the Hollywood star on its website, along with his photo, in order to promote its CBD products, despite Mr Eastwood having no connection to the company and having not endorsed the products.

The case is a good reminder of the strong protection of image rights in many US states, including in California, and the amount of damages that successful claimants can be awarded.

In recent years, celebrities including Michael Jordan and Katherine Heigl have also succeeded in US courts in claims against advertisers who have used their name or image in advertising without permission.

In the UK, there is no stand alone ‘image right’ or 'personality right'. However, the tort of passing off can extend to apply to similar circumstances to this. This was shown by the successful claim brought by Eddie Irvine against Talk Sport radio in the early 2000s.

The Clint Eastwood case is also a good reminder to UK advertisers of the risks of using the name or image of a non-UK based celebrity in their advertising. As this recent case shows, the reach of the Californian courts is likely to be long.

If you'd like to know more about the patchwork of UK laws which are used to protect image rights then you might find this guide useful.

“Mr. Eastwood has no connection of any kind whatsoever to any CBD products and never gave such an interview,” the court documents said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/03/movies/clint-eastwood-wins-cbd-lawsuit.html