As far back as he can remember, the character actor Frank Sivero has been best known for playing gangsters, in films like “The Godfather Part II” and, most famously, in “Goodfellas,” which cast him as the mobster Frankie Carbone.
And as the real-life mobster Henry Hill could have told you, being a goodfella means nobody can mess around with you, not even a long-running animated series that may or may not be paying homage to your work.
Mr. Sivero, who evidently wants it to be known that he is not a clown and not here to amuse you, has filed a lawsuit against Fox and the creators of “The Simpsons,” saying that the character of Louie, a cartoon mafia man who occasionally appears on that show, is an appropriation of his likeness and an infringement on his right to publicity.
Hmm. I don’t watch “The Simpsons.” Maybe you who do will have an opinion about this. Anyhow, it’s a big lawsuit: Funny How? ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Files $250 Million Suit Against ‘The Simpsons’ – NYTimes.com.
Is this an intellectual property thing? Does someone’s face/image qualify as “intellectual property?” Is their such a thing as “infringement on a right to publicity?” Privacy, yeah, I’d guess, but the opposite?