News & Commentary

U. S. Copyright Office Considers a Federal Right of Publicity

May 2, 2019 4:50 pm
copyright office right of publicity privacy moral rights report seal
In a report issued on April 23rd by the Register of Copyrights, the U.S. Copyright Office suggests that the lack of uniformity in state right of publicity laws may require Congressional intervention. The call for Congress to consider such a right arose in the course of a 107-page...

Olivia de Havilland’s Cert. Petition Denied by U.S. Supreme Court

January 8, 2019 1:12 am
Today, the United States Supreme Court denied review of the California Court of Appeal decision in De Havilland v. FX Networks. This leaves in place the California appellate court's strong decision holding that the First Amendment bars the right of publicity and false light claims de Havilland brought aganst...

Emotional Distress Award Affirmed for Model in California

November 30, 2018 10:32 pm
john olive GNC right of publicity lawsuit
NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect the withdrawal of the original appelalte opinon and its replacement with one filed on December 27, 2018. The only difference is that the new decision affirmed rather than reversed the trial court's holding with regard to there being no prevailing...

Seventh Circuit Dismisses Athletes’ Case in Fantasy Sports Suit

November 30, 2018 7:53 pm
seventh circuit court of appeals right of publicity fantasy sports fanduel daniels
Yesterday, the Seventh Circuit ended the Daniels v. Fanduel case. Several former college athletes had sued over the use of their names, images, and statistics in online fantasy sports games―in particular uses by FanDuel and DraftKing. The plaintiffs alleged that the uses violated their right of publicity under...

FanDuel Wins Again as Uses of Athletes in Fantasy Sports Held Newsworthy

October 26, 2018 10:31 pm
daniels fanduel right of publicity indiana newsworthy first amendment
This week the Indiana Supreme Court held in Daniels v. FanDuel that uses of players’ names, pictures, and statistics in online fantasy sports games and related advertisements are of “newsworthy value.” Accordingly, the uses are not actionable under Indiana’s right of publicity statute which expressly exempts such matter...

Who Owns You When You are Dead

October 18, 2018 7:05 pm
jennifer rothman right of publicity USPTO nationla trademark exposition panel postmortem right of publicity kareem abdul-jabbar
The video has finally been posted from my July talk about postmortem rights of publicity for the USPTO’s National Trademark Exposition held at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. My talk is followed by comments by a former IRS examiner and tax attorney, and a panel discussion with basketball...

Court Denies Class Certification in Atheletes’ Suit Against Madden NFL Maker

September 6, 2018 5:32 pm
right of publicity electronic arts madden nfl davis class certification
Yesterday, the district court in Davis v. Electronic Arts confirmed its holding that there could not be class certification in the right of publicity case arising from the alleged use of NFL players' identities in the popular sports-themed video game series NFL Madden.  The court rejected the motion...

Court Allows Players’ Case Against Madden Video Game to Proceed

September 4, 2018 7:02 pm
Davis electronic arts right of publicity privacy california video game
The summer did not end well for Electronic Arts (EA), as a district court rejected its summary judgment motion in Davis v. Electronic Arts, allowing the right of publicity claims under California's common law to proceed. The claims arise out of the alleged use of real NFL players'...

DJ Khaled Sues Over Use of His Son’s Name

June 12, 2018 6:30 pm
right of publicity trademark unfair competition claim t-shirt dj khaled asahd son new york
Last week Khaled M. Khaled, known popularly as DJ Khaled, and the company ATK Entertainment filed a lawsuit objecting to the alleged uses of his son’s name by a clothing company. The complaint (as resubmitted yesterday) alleges violations of trademark law, right of publicity and privacy laws (under...

New York Legislature Deluged with Letters Opposing Right Of Publicity Bill

June 11, 2018 5:21 pm
new york state right of publicity right of privacy bill 2018 june
Dozens of letters opposing the recently reintroduced and amended version of a right of publicity bill in New York have already been submitted to members of the New York legislature.  Letters so far include ones by: The Media Coalition, New York State Broadcasters Association, Association of Magazine Media,...