Bogart Estate Files Suit Against Burberry for Social Media Campaign
On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, the estate of legendary actor and cultural icon Humphrey Bogart filed suit against Burberry to address Burberry's unauthorized, commercial use of Humphrey Bogart's publicity rights in an international advertising campaign. Using on-line social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, Burberry advertised globally that Humphrey Bogart wore a Burberry trench coat in the final scene of Casablanca. The Bogart Estate, however, never gave permission for the use of Humphrey Bogart's image in this advertising campaign.
"Just as Burberry needed to obtain Emma Watson's consent before using her name and image to promote Burberry's brand and products, it needed to obtain permission from the Bogart Estate to use Humphrey Bogart's name and image in its social media marketing campaign," said publicity rights attorney Michael O. Crain, who represents Bogart LLC, the entity through which the Bogart Estate manages the Humphrey Bogart publicity rights. "Burberry's business hinges on respect for its own intellectual property rights, so it is quite surprising to see that it apparently has so little respect for the clear rights of others."
"This is such an incredibly disappointing and disrespectful action by Burberry," said Stephen Bogart, son of the Hollywood legend. "Apparently they believe a shoe company can advertise the fact that Brad Pitt wore its brand while jogging down the street, or a beverage company can claim George Clooney drank its product in one of his movies – all without even asking, much less obtaining, the actors' permission. Wouldn't that be a nice, clever way to get Hollywood icons to endorse or advertise products without paying compensation or, more importantly, obtaining permission? What's next, a cigarette company can start an advertising program claiming Bogie smoked its brand, and there's nothing our family can do about it?"
"Stephen Bogart is exactly right, and we trust the courts will recognize the terrible precedent which would be created by permitting Burberry to advertise in this way without obtaining the permission of the Bogart Estate," said Robbert de Klerk, managing partner of Bogart LLC. Mr. de Klerk further said that "we will rigorously protect the name and image of Humphrey Bogart and do all we can to prevent companies like Burberry from exploiting Humphrey Bogart's legacy for their financial gain."
About Bogart LLC
Bogart LLC, which is majority-owned by the children of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, manages the legacy and publicity rights of legendary actor and cultural icon Humphrey Bogart. The company enters into licensing and merchandising agreements which fit with, and respect, the legacy of Humphrey Bogart. Learn more at www.facebook.com/HumphreyBogartEstate and www.twitter.com/HumphreyBogart.
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