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Lohan threatens to sue over surveillance tape

The embattled star is now meeting with lawyers about suing a jewelry store for failing to obtain publicity rights to use her image for its own private gain.
/ Source: E!online

Just imagine you're a celebrity and any retail store you walk into might sell security camera footage of your beautiful mug? Doesn't sound too appealing, does it?

Well, that pretty much sums up the feelings of one Lindsay Lohan, who is mulling a lawsuit against Kamofie & Co. after surveillance footage of her allegedly absconding with a necklace has been released into the wild.

But does such a suit even have a chance?

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E! News has learned that in the midst of preparing a defense in her criminal case for felony theft, the embattled star is now meeting with lawyers about suing Kamofie for failing to obtain publicity rights to use Lohan's image for its own private gain.

The Venice-based jewlery store apparently sold the footage to the Associated Press, which in turn licensed it to "Entertainment Tonight", which has been unspooling the video on air this week.

The clips show Lohan checking out that now notorious $2,500 necklace she's accused of jacking.

No sums have been discussed but it is believed that "ET" paid more than $25,000 for the privelege.

All an AP rep would say was: "Under an agreement with the copyright owner of the video, AP's commercial images division worked out a deal allowing 'Entertainment Tonight' to air the video exclusively at this time." "ET" declined to comment.

According to some legal observers, the sale could help Team Lohan in her criminal case by suggesting the jewelers set up Lohan to profit off her celebrity. The release of the tape could also jeopardize her shot at a fair trial.

But as for a civil suit against Kamofie? That likely won't fly, according to one constitutional law expert.

"She has no case whatsoever," says Kelli Sager, a partner at Davis Wright and Tremaine with more than 25 years of experience in this field but with no ties to the Lohan case.

For Lohan to prevail, Sager says the actress must prove that what was released to the public was first and foremost private, but the attorney explains that Lohan can't have any expectations of privacy shopping in a high-end jewelry store that has recording devices alerting customers they are being watched.

"You are being recorded," says Sager. "There is no expectation that the tape is going to stay private."

Not only that, but the accusations of theft against her amount to "a matter of public interest," which basically means that LiLo's claims would be laughed out of court since there's a clear constitutional protection for such releases.

For its part, in a carefully worded statement, Kamofie &Co. denied selling the footage in the first place and lashed out at the media for reporting as much.

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"We have heard the report today that Lindsay Lohan is preparing to sue Kamofie &Co ... claiming [we] had no right to release the surveillance video. We wish to remind everyone that we turned the tape over to the Associated Press and that Kamofie &Co. has had no contact or dealings with Entertainment Tonight," said store spokesman Christopher Spencer.

Using a phrase like "turned the tape over" isn't exactly an outright denial that a sale took place but no matter. With all the scrutiny its getting surrounding the sale, Kamofie opted to shoot the messenger.

"As of this moment, we have never received any contact or communication of any type from Lindsay Lohan's attorneys or her representative that she intended to file a legal complaint in this matter," Spender continued. "I am guessing that this is yet another piece of redistributed gossip being passed along as an alleged fact."

— Additional reporting by Katie Rhames