CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT PUTS DE HAVILLAND CASE TO REST
Steven T. Lowe
On July 11, 2018, the California Supreme Court refused to revive a lawsuit filed by actress Olivia de Havilland over the FX docudrama “Feud: Bette and Joan.”
De Havilland’s claims, which included the claim that FX violated her right of publicity, were dismissed by the California Court of Appeals as barred by the First Amendment. This ruling by the Court of Appeals was the result of an appeal by FX with the support of numerous outside groups such as Netflix, A&E and Wikipedia. De Havilland won the motion in the lower court but the Court of Appeals offered a complete rejection of the trial court decision emphatically ruling that the First Amendment gives authors broad leeway to use real people in their creations, both in purely factual and fictionalized works.
The case is Olivia de Havilland v. FX Networks LLC et al., case number S248614, in the Supreme Court of California.
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