In May 2004, news media around the world buzzed after learning that Arnold Schwarzenegger, movie-star-turned Governor of California, had filed a lawsuit against an Ohio manufacturer of bobblehead dolls bearing his name and likeness. The case presented a seemingly stark choice between the right of a celebrity-politician to protect his image against commercial appropriation and the First Amendment rights of the public to lampoon that image, and commentators hoped that the case would set a precedent regarding how those rights should be balanced. Just three months later, however, before any court ruling had been made, the parties announced that they had reached a settlement, leaving that important legal issue unresolved.
Shortly after the case settled, the Santa Clara Law Review invited counsel for the parties to debate the legal issues raised by the case in a written symposium. The purpose of this symposium is to preserve the legal arguments of the parties for posterity and to provide guidance for courts and counsel facing similar issues in the future. This Introduction sets forth the facts of the case, as compiled from publicly available sources. Plaintiffs counsel, Charles J. Harder and Henry L. Self, III of Lavely & Singer, argue in favor of protecting Governor Schwarzenegger's statutory and common-law right of publicity, while Defendant's counsel, William T. Gallagher of Townsend & Townsend & Crew, contends that the doll should be protected by the First Amendment. Academic commentary is provided by Professor Shubha Ghosh of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Professors David S. Welkowitz of Whittier Law School and Tyler T. Ochoa of Santa Clara University School of Law.
Tyler T. Ochoa,
The Schwarzenegger Bobblehead Case: Introduction and Statement of Facts
, 45 Santa Clara L. Rev. 547
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/facpubs/79