News & Commentary

February 15, 2018 12:00 pm
simpsons fox sivero goodfellas right of publicity law suit california court of appeal
Earlier this week, the California Court of Appeal gave a Valentine’s Day present to Twentieth Century Fox, by throwing out a right of publicity lawsuit brought by Frank Sivero. Sivero, a film actor, best known for his work playing mafiosos, objected to a recurring character in the animated...
February 01, 2018 4:00 pm
thelonious monk right of publicity lawsuit north coast brewing co motion to dismiss
Yesterday, a federal district court in California rejected North Coast Brewing Co's motion to dismiss the right of publicity and false endorsement claims brought by the estate of Thelonious Monk. The estate objects to the company's use of jazz legend Monk's name and likeness on its Brother...
January 26, 2018 1:15 pm
MPAA SAG IDA and others amicus briefs de havilland right of publicity lawsuit
At least five separate amicus briefs have been filed in the expedited appeal in Olivia de Havilland v. FX Networks. I filed an amicus in this case with a number of other law professors in support of FX Networks. We argue that the First Amendment protects the use of real people,...
January 25, 2018 1:30 pm
feud de havilland olivia right of publicity FX murphy lawsuit
Yesterday, I filed a brief co-authored with Rebecca Tushnet and Eugene Volokh asking the California Court of Appeal to reverse the trial court’s decision in De Havilland v. FX Networks as to the right of publicity claim. The case, first filed at the end of June last year, involves a...
January 18, 2018 1:45 pm
Muhammad Ali Fox right of publicity lawsuit illinois california superbowl tribute
Earlier this week Fox filed motions for judgment on the pleadings and an Anti-SLAPP motion to strike in the case brought last fall against it for airing a tribute to the recently deceased boxing great Muhammad Ali before its broadcast of the 2017 Superbowl. I previously expressed the view that the...
January 05, 2018 2:00 pm
whitney houston right of publicity estate tax IRS
The Whitney Houston estate and the IRS have settled their dispute over the value of the Grammy award-winner’s estate. The more than $11 million dollar disagreement in the amount of taxes owed centered on the valuation of Houston’s intellectual property rights, and particularly the value of her...
November 29, 2017 11:15 am
gronking rob gronkowski nfl right of publicity lawsuit doe v. roe sixth circuit ohio
Last week the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Roe v. Amazon held that booksellers Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble (among others) could not be held liable for violating the privacy and publicity rights of a couple whose image was used without permission on the cover of an erotic novel...
October 10, 2017 3:15 pm
muhammad ali v fox right of publicity lawsuit illinois
The company that owns and manages former boxing great Muhammad Ali's right of publicity and trademarks has sued Fox Broadcasting in federal district court in Illinois. The complaint filed today claims that Fox's broadcast of a memorial to Muhammad Ali leading up to the broadcast of the 2017 Super...
October 06, 2017 4:00 pm
daniels fanduel right of publicity lawsuit indiana
Last week while a California trial court let the right of publicity run roughshod over the First Amendment in a case involving a docudrama, an Indiana district court in Daniels v. Fanduel rejected the right of publicity claims brought by former NCAA football players, Akeem Daniels, Cameron...
October 04, 2017 10:45 am
de Havilland feud FX right of publicity california lawsuit
On Friday, a California superior court agreed with two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland that her lawsuit against FX Networks could proceed. FX had sought to put a swift end to her lawsuit arising out of her portrayal in the network’s critically acclaimed miniseries, Feud. The series...

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