News & Commentary

October 19, 2015 5:00 pm PT
These megastars sued Eleven LLC for using their names and images in a variety of merchandise, including t-shirts, hats, and cell phone covers. Some of the images evoked Hitler and some of the items used lyrics from the artists’ songs. The plaintiffs’ complaint includes claims for violations of New...
October 19, 2015 4:30 pm PT
This weekend I took part in an all-day workshop at Yale Law School, sponsored by the Information Society Project and the Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression. Some of the leading right of publicity and First Amendment litigators and scholars in the country were present. The workshop operated...
October 15, 2015 10:45 am PT
The student-athlete plaintiffs in Marshall have filed their opening brief in their appeal to the Sixth Circuit.  The Tennessee district court had earlier rejected the claim that television broadcasts of collegiate games violated the players’ rights of publicity under Tennessee law....
October 6, 2015 7:45 pm PT
On Monday, EA filed a Petition seeking Supreme Court review in Davis v. Electronic Arts, 775 F.3d 1172 (9th Cir. 2015).  The video game maker asks the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit and hold that the use of realistic depictions of people in expressive works, including video games,...
October 5, 2015 12:15 pm PT
The Ninth Circuit’s decision last week upholding the application of antitrust laws to the NCAA, has several implications for student-athletes and their rights of publicity.  The appellate court’s holding that the NCAA could retain its rules requiring students to remain amateur means that...
October 5, 2015 12:00 pm PT
On September 30, 2015, a federal district court in New York dismissed a right of publicity claim brought by former Stratton Oakmont employee, Andrew Greene.  Greene was featured in convicted felon Jordan Belfort's memoir upon which the Martin Scorsese movie was based. The movie, however, did...
September 18, 2015 12:15 pm PT
A lawsuit filed by famous recording artist, Aretha Franklin, against a documentary filmmaker, Allan Elliott, led to the pulling of his documentary film, “Amazing Grace,” from the line-ups at numerous prestigious film festivals, including Telluride and Toronto.  Ms. Franklin claims that the...
August 1, 2015 10:15 pm PT
Alabama's Right of Publicity Act went into effect on August 1, 2015.  It is not yet clear what effect the law will have on the common law rights in the state.  Of most concern is the expansive language of the statute which includes both for-profit and non-profit uses of any indicia of...
July 16, 2015 11:30 pm PT
A case filed in Alabama, but decided by the district court under Michigan law, where Ms. Parks died, claims that Target’s celebratory plaques that include Parks’ image, as well as that of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. may infringe Rosa Park’s right of publicity. The district court held that the...
July 14, 2015 9:15 pm PT
The Ninth Circuit denied rehearing in its controversial decision in Davis v. Electronic Arts that the use of real professional athletes identities in a video game was not protected by the First Amendment.  This decision leaves at risk numerous expressive and nonfiction works that include...

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The Book

Privacy Reimagined For A Public World

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.

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