The website “brettkavanaugh.com” may have illegally used the Supreme Court justice’s name to make a resource for survivors of sexual assault, according to a report from The Daily Signal.
Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow with the The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, wrote on Friday that the website, founded by liberal advocacy group Fix the Court, may have violated a section of Washington, D.C. law by using the judge’s name.
According to Spakovsky, D.C. courts have ruled that a person “who appropriates to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy.”
Spakovsky adds that the comments to that section make it clear that the interest protected by this rule ‘is the interest of the individual in the exclusive use of his own identity.’ Unlike the federal statute, a violation does not require that someone like [Fix the Courts founder Gabe] Roth acquire the name in order to make a profit, although there seems little doubt that Roth and Fix the Court may profit from increased donations due to the attention given to the website.
“In fact, the restatement says that the rule ‘is not limited to commercial appropriation,’” Spakovsky continues. “It applies when a ‘defendant makes use of the plaintiff’s name or likeness for his own purposes and benefits, even though the use is not a commercial one, and even though the benefit sought to be obtained is not a pecuniary one.’”
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