News & Commentary

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...
June 8, 2015 10:00 am PT
In June of 2015, a district court in Tennessee rejected a class action claim by student-athletes that their rights of publicity were being violated by the broadcast of collegiate games.  The court held that the use of their names and likenesses in the context of the broadcasts was outside the...
June 1, 2015 3:00 pm PT
In May of 2015, the New York Assembly and Senate both introduced bills that would add a post-mortem right of publicity to New York’s law.  The proposed term would be seventy years.  The bill provides a number of enumerated exceptions for expressive works, but it is still hotly contested....
May 15, 2015 10:15 am PT
A case involving the use of Backpage to facilitate sex trafficking and prostitution and privacy-based misappropriation claims under Rhode Island and Massachusetts laws was rejected by a Massachusetts district court on May 15, 2015 and is now pending appeal in the First Circuit. Doe ex rel Roe v...
May 1, 2015 10:00 am PT
In the Spring of 2015, the Arkansas legislature passed a right of publicity statute . The legislation was proposed in response to concerns raised by the family of legendary University of Arkansas Coach Frank Broyles. They claimed that the current law inadequately protected him against the...
March 19, 2015 10:15 am PT
On March 19, 2015, South Dakota’s governor Dennis Daugaard signed into law a bill that establishes a right of publicity in the state.  The bill was spearheaded by the family of Russell Means, a Native American activist and actor. S. D. Codified Laws § 21-64 et seq.

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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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