A computer-altered photo of actor Dustin Hoffman in a cute yellow dress is no laughing matter - and isn't protected by the Constitution, a Los Angeles federal judge said.

U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian on Monday gave the green light to Hoffman's lawsuit against Los Angeles Magazine for violating his publicity rights by publishing a retouched photo of Hoffman in drag.The ad showed the Academy Award-winning actor in the dress next to a caption that read: "Dustin Hoffman isn't a drag in a butter-colored silk gown by Richard Tyler and Ralph Lauren heels."

The actor, who starred in the 1982 movie "Tootsie" about a man who dresses as a woman to get an acting job, sued for $5 million in April 1997 claiming the photograph was altered with a computer and used without his permission.

Attorneys for the publishers - Capital Cities/ABC Inc. and Fairchild Publications Inc. - had asked the judge to dismiss the suit, claiming the photo was protected by the First Amendment.