How Much is a Tweet Worth?
by Sita Desai and Darin Klemchuk
Katherine Heigl thinks a tweet sent out by Duane Reade Inc., a subsidiary of Walgreen Co. is worth $6 million. Duane Reade tweeted a picture of Heigl, along with the caption “Love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even @KatieHeigl can’t resist shopping #NYC’s favorite drugstore.”
The photograph used by Duane Reade in its tweet shows Heigl with two Duane Reade bags in hand, and appears to have been from JustJared, a celebrity news website which uses paparazzi photographs.
Heigl’s complaint alleges Duane Reade violated the false advertising provision of the Lanham Act, and Heigl’s rights to publicity under New York law. Heigl claims that Duane Reade “improperly exploited [Heigl]’s name and likeness, as a celebrity, for Defendant’s commercial advertising and purposes of trade, without authorization. Such use was done knowingly and willfully[.]”
Unlike many other cases we’ve seen in recent years having to do with a celebrity’s rights to publicity, this case offers a unique perspective. The photograph clearly shows Heigl having shopped at the drugstore, and Duane Reade’s caption essentially says just that. No matter how this case proceeds, it will definitely impact how some companies use Twitter and the content which can be used.