News & Commentary

New York Reintroduces Much Improved Postmortem Right of Publicity Bill

July 14, 2020 8:32 pm
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During its usual off-season, the New York legislature is revisiting its multi-year efforts to add new sections to its civil rights law and in particular to add a postmortem provision to state law. This latest version would add two sections to NY's Civil Rights Law,  what it dubs...

Pennsylvania District Court Holds Right of Publicity Claims Barred by Communications Decency Act Section 230

June 16, 2020 5:52 pm
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A federal district court in Pennsylvania granted Facebook, Imgur, and Reddit’s respective motions to dismiss claims that they had violated Karen Hepp’s common law and statutory rights of publicity under Pennsylvania law. The Court held her claims barred by the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”)'s Section 230, 47 U.S.C....

New York Trial Court Allows Right of Publicity Case to Proceed Against TV Docudrama

June 4, 2020 6:06 pm
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Once again a New York court has allowed Christopher Porco (hereinafter “Chris”) and his mother, Joan Porco, to proceed with their right of publicity claims brought under New York Civil Rights Law § 51 arising out of a Lifetime docudrama. Chris and Joan object to the use of...

California Passes Law to Allow Student Athletes to Commercialize Their Identities

October 7, 2019 5:13 pm
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Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB206 which requires NCAA member universities to allow student athletes to sign endorsement deals and with agents and attorneys without losing their amateur status. Other states are following California's lead and introducing similar bills, and Congress has introduced a bill in the...

Ariana Grande Sues Forever 21 over Social Media Posts

September 10, 2019 7:47 pm
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Last week pop sensation Ariana Grande filed a lawsuit against Forever 21 for violation of both her statutory and common law right of publicity under California law, as well as for trademark infringement and false endorsement under the Lanham Act, and a copyright infringement claim. The claims arise...

New York Legislative Session Ends With No Vote on Right of Publicity Bill

July 19, 2019 8:52 pm
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The New York legislature closed its session without taking up the proposed right of publicity and privacy bill.

In final hours, New York Makes Last Minute Changes to Right of Publicity Bill

June 18, 2019 5:34 pm
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Apparently dropping around midnight Sunday, the New York legislature made a set of last-minute  changes to the proposed right of publicity bill. The amendments focused solely on addressing broadcasters' concerns that remasters of existing works would violate the newly proposed "digital replica" right. Such remastering is now excluded...

Letters and Statements of Opposition Filed Against Proposed New York Right of Publicity Bills

June 13, 2019 5:28 pm
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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...

New York Assembly Revises Right of Publicity Bill to Match Flawed Senate Version

June 7, 2019 12:17 am
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Today, the New York Assembly introduced an amended version of its proposed right of publicity bill.  It is virtually identical (with only minor changes) to the senate bill introduced a few weeks ago, and contains no improvements or fixes from the highly flawed senate bill. This amended version...

New York Reintroduces Right of Publicity Bill with Dueling Versions

May 23, 2019 1:25 am
New York state right of publicity and right of privacy bills senate assembly legislaiton
Last week the New York Senate introduced a substantially revised version of a right of publicity bill, S5959.  There are many promising improvements in this draft from the earlier assembly version (reintroduced in February), but also a lot of concerns raised by the draft. I am told that...