News & Commentary

Harris Faulkner Says It Doesn’t Matter that Hamster Toy Doesn’t Look Like Her

December 9, 2015 11:27 pm
harris faulkner and hamster toy right of publicity lawsuit
Fox News reporter Harris Faulkner filed her Opposition to Hasbro’s Motion to Dismiss her right of publicity claim earlier this week. Faulkner’s attorneys emphasize that Hasbro can’t use her name for its toy hamster even if the hamster looks nothing like her. Hasbro’s main argument in its motion...

Sarver Tells Ninth Circuit – Hey, Don’t Forget About Me!

December 9, 2015 10:52 pm
hurt locker right of publicity lawsuit sarver ninth circuit
In a letter filed this week in the Ninth Circuit, Sarver’s attorney reminds the Ninth Circuit that this case, which was argued on May 9, 2013, still has not been decided by the Court of Appeals. Sarver v. The Hurt Locker, LLC, involves a right of publicity claim...

Respondents File Brief in Supreme Court in Davis v. Electronic Arts

December 8, 2015 10:39 pm
right of publicity lawsuit supreme court certiorari davis v. electronic arts madden nfl
Michael Davis and the other retired football players who sued Electronic Arts for the use of their identities in Madden NFL filed their opposition brief today in the Supreme Court. They argue against granting certiorari in the case. The Ninth Circuit previously held that the alleged use of...

Class Action by Lawyers Against Website with Attorney Profiles

December 4, 2015 10:56 pm
AVVO logo right of publicity suit by lawyers
A class action has been filed on behalf of California attorneys against the website Avvo, a service that provides attorney profiles sometimes without the attorneys' consent. Avvo collects public information about various attorneys such as name, specialities, years in practice and firm information and provides that information in...

REVISED — L.A. Court Allows Reese Witherspoon to Proceed with Right of Publicity Claim Against Jeweler

December 2, 2015 11:56 pm
Reese Witherspoon engagement ring right of publicity suit
(Revised to reflect final court order) On Tuesday, a court ruled that Reese Witherspoon could proceed with her right of publicity claims against a number of defendants who had used her name and image to sell various products, particularly jewelery.  One company allegedly named an engagement ring, Reese,...

First Amendment Protects Use of Videogamer’s Likeness in Cartoon Network Animated Series

November 24, 2015 9:12 pm
regular show cartoon network billy mitchell right of publicity lawsuit
Billy Mitchell, a well-known videogame player with world records for classic arcade games like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, sued Cartoon Network for allegedly using his likeness for a character in The Regular Show. The animated comedy series follows two animals, a blue jay and a raccoon.  In one...

Seventh Circuit Rejects Claims Against College Board by Private Individuals for Sale of Personal Information

November 20, 2015 6:34 pm
ACT SAT right of publicity and privacy suit seventh circuit
On Wednesday, the Seventh Circuit held in Silha v. ACT, Inc. (7th Cir. 2015) that students who had taken the ACT and SAT did not have standing to sue for the alleged sale of their personal information. The Seventh Circuit pointed to the fact that even though the use...

Some Wyoming Legislators Want to Resurrect Privacy Bill and Send to Voters

November 19, 2015 9:30 pm
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports today that the Wyoming Legislature's Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivision Interim Committee voted to sponsor a bill that would allow voters to pass a privacy amendment to the state constitution.  Such an amendment was rejected by the state Senate in January of...

Article in Virginia Law Review Documents Expansive Reach of the Right of Publicity

November 19, 2015 6:56 pm
Right of Publicity article jennifer rothman virginia law review logo commercial speech commercial use and the intellectual property quagmire
My latest article, Commercial Speech, Commercial Use and the Intellectual Property Quagmire, is in print this week in the Virginia Law Review. The article considers the role in intellectual property laws of commercial speech doctrine and considerations of commerciality more generally (usually in the sense of a use that...

More Musicians Object to Uses of their Music in Political Campaigns

November 19, 2015 3:36 am
right of publicity claim versus Huckabee for eye of tiger copyright
Today, Rude Music filed a complaint in a federal district court in Illinois for the use of the song “Eye of the Tiger” by Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. The song by the band Survivor was the theme song in the movie Rocky III which topped the charts at...