News & Commentary

Amazon Beats Right of Publicity Claim for Use of Photograph on Book Cover

November 29, 2017 7:32 pm
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Last week the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Roe v. Amazon held that booksellers Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble (among others) could not be held liable for violating the privacy and publicity rights of a couple whose image was used without permission on the cover of an...

Company that Owns Muhammad Ali sues Fox over Tribute to Late Boxer

October 10, 2017 10:56 pm
muhammad ali v fox right of publicity lawsuit illinois
The company that owns and manages former boxing great Muhammad Ali's right of publicity and trademarks has sued Fox Broadcasting in federal district court in Illinois. The complaint filed today claims that Fox's broadcast of a memorial to Muhammad Ali leading up to the broadcast of the 2017...

Major Victory for Fantasy Sports against College Athletes

October 6, 2017 11:17 pm
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Last week while a California trial court let the right of publicity run roughshod over the First Amendment in a case involving a docudrama, an Indiana district court in Daniels v. Fanduel rejected the right of publicity claims brought by former NCAA football players, Akeem Daniels, Cameron Stingily,...

The Plot (and Feud) Thickens

October 4, 2017 5:55 pm
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On Friday, a California superior court agreed with two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland that her lawsuit against FX Networks could proceed. FX had sought to put a swift end to her lawsuit arising out of her portrayal in the network’s critically acclaimed miniseries, Feud. The series chronicled...

Jazz Great Thelonious Monk’s Heir Objects to Brother Thelonious Beer

August 31, 2017 9:51 pm
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Earlier this week, Thelonious Monk, Jr. filed a lawsuit against North Coast Brewing Co. in the federal district court of California for allegedly using his father, the great jazz musician Thelonious Monk’s name, likeness, and image on its beer labels, for its brand name, and in advertising and...

Another Actor Fights Back Against Nude Photos

August 30, 2017 7:40 pm
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An unknown, but allegedly famous television actress has sued a website for posting nude photographs of her on its website and using her name to drive traffic to a pornographic site. The complaint in Jane Doe v. Roe Corporation was filed in a Los Angeles superior court. It...

Olivia de Havilland Back in the Spotlight

July 5, 2017 10:22 pm
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One of Hollywood’s most successful plaintiffs and actresses is at it again. Olivia de Havilland, the two-time Oscar winner, who appeared in such Hollywood classics as Gone with the Wind and The Heiress, has sued FX Networks and Ryan Murphy in California Superior Court over her portrayal in...

New York Legislature Feels the Heat and Pulls Right of Publicity Bill

June 22, 2017 4:48 am
Advertisement Opposed New York Right of Publicity Bill
Feeling the heat from many different sides, the New York legislature today smartly pulled the seriously flawed right of publicity bill (with the SAG-AFTRA provision that undermined the statutory speech protections).  As Professors Christopher Sprigman, Christopher Buccafusco, and I wrote in an editorial in the Albany Times-Union, the...

New York Legislature Amends Right of Publicity Bill for the Worse

June 15, 2017 12:25 am
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Today the New York Legislature amended its proposed right of publicity bill, A08155, and not for the better.  Instead, it added language that undermines statutory protections for expressive works. The bill is deeply flawed to begin with and this only makes matters worse--far worse. The amendment would deny...

Letters Submitted in Opposition to Proposed New York Right of Publicity Bill

June 9, 2017 7:27 pm
letter to new york legislature on right of publicity bill 08155
Today, I submitted a letter opposing the current draft of a "right of publicity" bill being rushed through the New York legislature before it closes up shop for the summer. Since my earlier post about the bill SAG-AFTRA has proposed adding language that would eviscerate the exemptions in...