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Stewart, et al. v. Rolling Stone, L.L.C., et al.

Plaintiffs, 186 musical artists, claimed that Rolling Stone Magazine and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company knowingly and deliberately associated their names with an advertisement for Camel brand cigarettes without the artists' prior authorization by placing their names within the same five-page "feature" in the magazine's issue. The defendant magazine and the producer of Camel brand cigarettes, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, defended the advertisement as falling within non-commercial speech protected under the Constitution. The trial court found that the defendants had included the plaintiffs "inextricably" in the advertisement and that it had constituted commercial speech. The trial court therefore refused to dismiss the case at the request of the defendants. The Court of Appeals of California, First District, Division One, reversed the trial court's decision, finding that the advertisement was non-commercial as a matter of law, in part, because the magazine did not directly benefit from the sale of the advertised cigarettes and the cigarette company played no role in designing the advertisement. Moreover, there was no evidence of actual malice on the part of the defendants. Therefore, the Court of Appeals found that the advertisement was fully protected under the right to free speech under the Constitution.