News & Commentary

South Dakota Passes Right of Publicity Statute into Law

September 28, 2015 5:10 pm
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.

Federal Court in Tennessee rejects student-athletes’ right of publicity claim against ESPN for game broadcasts

September 28, 2015 5:08 pm
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...

Alabama’s New Right of Publicity Statute Goes Into Effect and Threatens Free Speech

September 28, 2015 5:25 am
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...

Ninth Circuit Denies Rehearing in Davis v. Electronic Arts

September 28, 2015 4:25 am
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 portrayals of historical...

Artwork sold by Target to celebrate the civil rights movement is itself a target – of a right of publicity claim by Rosa Parks’ estate.

September 25, 2015 6:32 am
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...

New York Introduces Post-Mortem Right Of Publicity Bill

September 24, 2015 10:07 pm
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...

Wyoming Rejects Privacy Bill

August 28, 2015 9:10 pm
On January 28, 2015 the Wyoming Senate rejected a pending bill that would have added privacy protections to the state constitution. Wyoming Committee Formal Draft 1.1., 15 LSO-0066 (2015)

Governor of Arkansas Vetoes Right of Publicity Statute

July 21, 2015 5:02 pm
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 unauthorized use...