Letters and Statements of Opposition Filed Against Proposed New York Right of Publicity Bills
I sent a letter to members of the New York legislature and their staff today opposing the proposed right of publicity bills that have been introduced in the Senate and Assembly. I focus on four major concerns with the legislation: 1) the proposed redefinitions of the right of privacy and right of publicity, (2) the creation of transferable rights under New York law; (3) the convoluted, unclear, and likely unconstitutional approach to providing speech protections; and (4) the proposed postmortem provisions.
As I have said these bills are dangerous no matter what side of the right of publicity continuum you fall on. If passed, the proposed legislation will hurt a wide variety of people, from average New York citizens who don’t want Facebook to use their faces to sell soda, to performers who don’t want their managers to own them forever, to filmmakers trying to tell and promote stories about real people.
You can read the full memorandum here: Memorandum of Professor Jennifer E. Rothman, June 13, 2009
Also, published today was a statement of opposition to the bills on First Amendment grounds signed on to by a variety of law professors, and organizations that usually do not agree on things, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the MPAA, the Association of American Publishers, the Entertainment Software Asociation, and the Author's Guild.
THE RIGHT OF PUBLICITY: Privacy Reimagined for a Public World
This book from Harvard University Press by Professor Jennifer Rothman traces the history and development of the right of publicity and its current collision course with individual liberty, free speech and copyright law.