News & Commentary

Texas Appellate Court Strikes Down State’s Revenge Porn Law

April 20, 2018 6:06 pm
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This week a Texas Court of Appeals in Ex Parte Jones struck down the state’s law making it a criminal offense to “disclose intimate visual material” without the permission of the person depicted when that person expected the image to remain “private.”  Texas Penal Code § 21.16 (b)...

Lohan Loses Yet Another Right of Publicity Claim

April 7, 2018 4:17 am
The actor Lindsay Lohan continued her losing streak with another right of publicity lawsuit being tossed out. Last week the New York Court of Appeals in Lohan v. Take-Two Interactive Software, put to bed her claim against the makers of the video game Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV)....

First Amendment Protects Use of Olivia de Havilland in FEUD Docudrama

March 26, 2018 9:07 pm
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In a resounding victory for FX, the California Court of Appeal today reversed the trial court’s decision in de Havilland v. FX Networks on all counts.  The panel held that the anti-SLAPP motion to strike de Havilland's claims should have been granted both as to the right of...

Louisiana Reintroduces Right of Publicity Bill

March 9, 2018 12:16 am
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On February 28, 2018, Louisiana reintroduced a draft right of publicity bill titled the Allen Toussaint Legacy Act. I have written about efforts to pass such a bill in Lousiana previously.  Those efforts thus far have failed. The new bill is currently with the Committee on Civil Law...

Seventh Circuit Certifies Question to Indiana Supreme Court in Fantasy Sports Case

March 7, 2018 7:34 pm
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Today, the Seventh Circuit with lightening speed issued an opinion in the Daniels v. Fanduel case seeking guidance from the Supreme Court of Indiana. The case, which I have previously written about, involves a lawsuit by former college football players against online fantasy-sports companies FanDuel and DraftKings. An...

New York Times Article on De Havilland Case

March 6, 2018 7:05 pm
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Paul Brownfield's article on Olivia de Havilland's lawsuit against FX Network was published in Sunday's New York Times Style Section. It has a wonderful interview with Ms. de Havilland that explains more about her views on the lawsuit. It also has some commentary from me related to the...

L.A. Times Op-Ed: What Does Olivia de Havilland Have Against Allison Janney?

March 1, 2018 7:13 pm
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My op-ed on the Olivia de Havilland v. FX Networks lawsuit, currently on appeal in California, has been published by the Los Angeles Times and will appear in Sunday's print edition just in time for this year's Oscar's ceremony.  If de Havilland succeeds, movies that tell unuathorized stories...

“Simpsonized” Animated Character Held Transformative

February 15, 2018 8:09 pm
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Earlier this week, the California Court of Appeal gave a Valentine’s Day present to Twentieth Century Fox, by throwing out a right of publicity lawsuit brought by Frank Sivero. Sivero, a film actor, best known for his work playing mafiosos, objected to a recurring character in the animated...

Thelonious Monk Estate Survives Motion to Dismiss by Brewery

February 2, 2018 12:17 am
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Yesterday, a federal district court in California rejected North Coast Brewing Co's motion to dismiss the right of publicity and false endorsement claims brought by the estate of Thelonious Monk. The estate objects to the company's use of jazz legend Monk's name and likeness on its Brother Thelonious...

Briefs Rain Down on California Court of Appeal in De Havilland Case

January 26, 2018 9:38 pm
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At least five separate amicus briefs have been filed in the expedited appeal in Olivia de Havilland v. FX Networks. I filed an amicus in this case with a number of other law professors in support of FX Networks. We argue that the First Amendment protects the use...