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Assembly Bill 826 (Vasconcellos-1971)

Chapter 1595, Statutes of 1971

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In his November 10, 1971 letter to Governor Reagan, the author of this bill, Assembly member Vasconcellos, described Assembly Bill 826 as follows:

This bill fills a gap which exists in the common law tort of invasion of privacy in the State of California. Several other states, New York among them, have found it necessary to use legislation to fill this gap.

Misappropriation of an individualís name for commercial purposes is a tort at common law; however, damages are difficult to prove unless the personís name has a commercial value on the open market, as would the name of a celebrity or sports star. Assembly Bill 826 establishes a concrete remedy for the little man with a minimum of $300 payment.

Assembly Bill 826 extends the scope of this remedy to include the misappropriation of an individualís photograph or likeness as well as his name. It protects a personís identity from being exploited by others for their own commercial gain.
(See Exhibit #7, document PE-4)

The need for the legislation was addressed, in part, in the Assembly Committee on Judiciary analysis of Assembly Bill 826 as amended May 21, 1971 as follows:

The bill was suggested to the author by people who had their names used in connection with a magazine advertising scheme. The interests sought to be protected are two-fold: (a) publicity which places the injured party in a false light in the public eye, and (b) appropriation, for defendant advantage, of the plaintiffís name or likeness.
(See Exhibit #3b, page 1)

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