Singer-Songwriter Sues for Unwitting Product Placement Arising out of Interview

By Jennifer E. Rothman
October 27, 2015

Nafeesha Madyun, aka Esnavi has sued for right of publicity violations under New York Civil Rights Law Sections 50 & 51 for the allegedly unwitting product placement of a Hyundai in her consenusal interview when that interview was repurposed in an ad campaign by the automaker.  The case raises some interesting questions about the legitimacy of right of publicity claims arising out of the trend to have integrated product placement.  It also raises the question of  what latitude companies' have to legitimately report the use of their products by celebrities. The use of celebrity selfies that show celebrities wearing or using various companies' clothes, watches, bags etc. on company websites is becoming increasingly common.  Reese Witherspoon has a pending case involving a claim arising out of a company's posting of images of her wearing items that the company allegedly had given her for free.

Complaint, Madyun v. Sarnor, (N.Y. Sup. Ct., filed Oct. 20, 2015)