News & Commentary

April 21, 2017 4:45 pm
right of publicity prince warhol copyright fair use goldsmith lawsuit new york
Oh, how the chickens come home to roost. In Comedy III v. Saderup, Inc., the California Supreme Court distinguished Andy Warhol’s celebrity portraits from those of Gary Saderup’s realistic portraits of The Three Stooges. Now this unconvincing and unpredictable distinction between...
April 05, 2017 8:00 pm
right of publicity ncaa maloney t3 media paya ninth circuit copyright preemption
Today, the Ninth Circuit held in Maloney v. T3 Media that former collegiate athletes’ right of publicity claims arising out of the licensing of their photos by T3 Media were barred by copyright law. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court opinion in the case. Unfortunately, rather than...
October 12, 2016 9:15 pm
right of publicity usher lawsuit georgia
No, not that Usher. Jasmine Usher, a Georgia-based singer, is suing Sony Music and the band Travis Porter for the use of her voice on the hit song “Ayye Ladies”. The song reached number sixteen on the Billboard Top 200. Usher claims that her voice was recorded and used on the song without her...
October 07, 2016 3:15 pm
right of publicity harris faulkner
No surprise here. As I predicted, Hasbro and Harris Faulkner have reached a settlement only a few months after a district court in New Jersey denied Habsro's motion to dismiss.  The claim that the toy hamster looked anything like the Fox news reporter was always a stretch, but because the name...
October 05, 2016 1:45 pm
supreme court denies cert in obannon v ncaa right of publicity antitrust
On Monday, the Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari in O'Bannon v. NCAA, a Ninth Circuit decision from September 2015. The decision upheld the application of antitrust laws to the NCAA. The decision in O'Bannon rested in part on the conclusion that the use of the...
August 18, 2016 10:30 am
Javon Marshall vanderbilt right of publicity lawsuit ncaa espn
Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a short opinion affirming a Tennesse district court's dismissal of claims by student-athletes. Lead plaintiff Javon Marshall (pictured above), a Vanderbilt football player, and other college football and basketball players filed a class-action...
July 25, 2016 9:00 pm
harris faulkner and hasbro hamster right of publicity lawsuit motion to dismiss
A district court in New Jersey denied Hasbro's motion to dimiss Fox news reporter, Harris Faulkner's right of publicity claim.  I wrote earlier about Faulkner's lawsuit against Hasbro for naming its hamster toy Harris Faulkner.  The real-life Faulkner claims that the toy violates her...
July 14, 2016 8:45 pm
right of publicity julia child airbnb lawsuit
I finally got my hands on the complaint that was filed a few weeks ago by the Julia Child Foundation in California Superior Court. The Foundation holds the rights to Julia Child's "intellectual property rights, including all rights of publicity." Julia Child is, of course, the famous "cooking...
June 20, 2016 9:30 am
NCAA right of publicity supreme court o'bannon lawsuit certiorari petition
Last week I filed an amicus brief co-authored by Eugene Volokh and signed on to by 28 Constitutional Law and Intellectual Property Law professors supporting the petition for certiorari in O'Bannon, and in particular calling for guidance on the conflict between the First Amendment and the...
June 13, 2016 3:45 pm
Kent rathbun v H2R Restaurant right of publicity lawsuit
Celebrity chef Kent Rathbun has sued to invalidate an assignment of his rights to the use of his name and likeness. Rathbun, a former contestant on Iron Chef America and a four-time James Beard-Award nominated chef from Dallas, objects to an onerous contract he signed with H2R Restaurant Holdings...

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