'Thats Hot': Paris Hilton settles Hallmark lawsuit

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'Thats Hot': Paris Hilton settles Hallmark lawsuit

Fri Sep 24, 2010 @ 03:00PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

6a00d83451d69069e20120a5396466970b-800wi EXCLUSIVE: Paris Hilton will be getting a little something in the mail from Hallmark this year.

Hilton has settled a lawsuit against the company over a controversial greeting card (right) that featured a scene seemingly ripped from her old reality show "The Simple Life." The caption read "Paris's First Day as a Waitress" and made a pun on her trademarked catch phrase, "That's Hot." In 2007, Hilton sued, claiming her publicity rights had been violated.

Last week, attorneys for Hilton and Hallmark advised a California judge that they had reached a settlement. A confidentiality provision limits the release of exact terms, but we have reason to believe Hilton walked away with a favorable package.

When the heiress filed suit in 2007, Hallmark struck back with an anti-SLAPP motion citing free speech protections.

The case made its way up to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which handed Hilton a huge legal victory last year. The appeals court rejected Hallmark's protected-speech argument and raised doubts that the greeting card was "transformative" expression. The case was remanded back to a lower court.

Since then, the two sides have been preparing for a December trial. Evidence was being collected to ascertain the commercial value of Hilton's endorsement.

Now, pending a judge's blessing, the case is over. 

Hilton's name will be stamped in law review articles discussing the tricky balance between publicity rights and the First Amendment—but we may never know exactly what Hilton's publicity is really worth.

On a side note, Hilton sure has a lot in common with Lindsay Lohan these days. Both have spent time in jail, and both are in trouble with the law again after drug busts. Now both have settled their headline-making publicity rights disputes within days of each other. It's getting to be downright eerie. Has anybody spotted these two in the same room together?

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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