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Some duped by Borat want to sue filmmakers

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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-27-06 04:10 PM
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Some duped by Borat want to sue filmmakers
The new mockumentary Borat recruited some of those featured in the film and pretending to be a legitimate production. Some of those duped now want to sue the production company.

Slate senior editor Andy Bowers explains whether or not they will be able to sue, since they all signed a release.

Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is set to open in two weeks. The comedy follows a fictional Central Asian journalist who travels across the United States and interviews real people. Several of the film's unsuspecting stars have come forward recently to say they got duped into participating in the mockumentary. Most say they never read the fine print on the release forms they signed. What kind of releases are they?

Extra-long ones. Production companies typically get releases from everyone who appears on camera and can be identified in a finished film. A standard consent agreement has a couple of components. First, the signer agrees to let the producers use his image and voice in any way they see fit. Second, he waives the right to make a claim for defamation, invasion of privacy, or infringement of his rights of publicity.

What are these claims? In general, you can sue a production company if they use your image (or some other aspect of your persona) in a way that's misleading to viewers and makes you look bad. You can make a privacy claim if private facts about you are disclosed, or if the producers intruded upon you in a private place. And you can sue on the basis of your publicity rights if your image gets used for commercial purposes without your permission. (The courts first laid out the right of publicity in the 1950s, in a case concerning whether Topps Chewing Gum could use baseball players' images on trading cards.) /
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