News & Commentary

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...

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

May 2, 2019 4:50 pm
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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...