News & Commentary

Student Athletes Lose Sixth Circuit Appeal in Marshall v. ESPN

August 18, 2016 5:57 pm
Javon Marshall vanderbilt right of publicity lawsuit ncaa espn
Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a short opinion affirming a Tennesse district court's dismissal of claims by student-athletes. Lead plaintiff Javon Marshall (pictured above), a Vanderbilt football player, and other college football and basketball players filed a class-action complaint alleging that television broadcasts of their...

The Hamster Case Continues as District Court Denies Hasbro’s Motion to Dismiss

July 26, 2016 4:22 am
harris faulkner and hasbro hamster right of publicity lawsuit motion to dismiss
A district court in New Jersey denied Hasbro's motion to dimiss Fox news reporter, Harris Faulkner's right of publicity claim.  I wrote earlier about Faulkner's lawsuit against Hasbro for naming its hamster toy Harris Faulkner.  The real-life Faulkner claims that the toy violates her right of publicity by...

Julia Child Foundation Sues Airbnb for Using Her Name

July 15, 2016 4:34 am
right of publicity julia child airbnb lawsuit
I finally got my hands on the complaint that was filed a few weeks ago by the Julia Child Foundation in California Superior Court. The Foundation holds the rights to Julia Child's "intellectual property rights, including all rights of publicity." Julia Child is, of course, the famous "cooking...

Professors File Brief Supporting Review of O’Bannon and Fixing Right of Publicity Mess

June 20, 2016 4:59 pm
NCAA right of publicity supreme court o'bannon lawsuit certiorari petition
Last week I filed an amicus brief co-authored by Eugene Volokh and signed on to by 28 Constitutional Law and Intellectual Property Law professors supporting the petition for certiorari in O'Bannon, and in particular calling for guidance on the conflict between the First Amendment and the right of...

Celebrity Chef Sues to Cancel Contract Transferring His Right of Publicity

June 13, 2016 11:07 pm
Kent rathbun v H2R Restaurant right of publicity lawsuit
Celebrity chef Kent Rathbun has sued to invalidate an assignment of his rights to the use of his name and likeness. Rathbun, a former contestant on Iron Chef America and a four-time James Beard-Award nominated chef from Dallas, objects to an onerous contract he signed with H2R Restaurant...

NCAA Petitions Supreme Court to Protect Uses of Athletes’ Names & Likenesses

May 24, 2016 4:42 pm
Obannon right of publicity supreme court petition
Last week, the NCAA filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court in O'Bannon v. NCAA.  The bulk of the petition seeks to overrule the Ninth Circuit's decision that the NCAA rules requiring amateurism violate the Sherman Act and antitrust law.  Part of the petition also challenges...

Arkansas Resurrects Right of Publicity Bill

May 19, 2016 11:44 pm
The Arkansas legislature has reintroduced a right of publicity bill in the state after last year's bill was vetoed by its governor.  Governor Asa Hutchinson was concerned about the bill's limits on free speech.  Arkansas to date has only recognized a common law right of privacy and the...

Prince’s Death Sends Minnesota Legislature into Overdrive

May 10, 2016 4:12 pm
Prince right of publicity minnesota law post-mortem
Yesterday, the Minnesota legislature introduced a rushed bill to protect a right of publicity in that state and particularly to extend post-mortem rights in that state.  The bill came on the heels of the recent death on April 21st of the famous recording artist and composer Prince (aka...

Supreme Court Denies Review of Davis v. Electronic Arts

March 21, 2016 5:29 pm
Supreme Court right of publicity no review davis electronic arts
This morning the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Davis v. Electronic Arts, Inc.  This case from the Ninth Circuit rejected a First Amendment defense to right of publicity claims when the videogame Madden NFL depicted professional football players without their permission. I and many other intellectual property and...

Eighth Circuit Tosses NFL Players’ Lawsuit

February 26, 2016 9:59 pm
right of publicity john frederick dryer dryer v nfl eighth circuit
Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a district court’s summary judgment against NFL players in Dryer v. NFL.  The underlying lawsuit involved objections by players to the use of their names and likenesses in NFL game footage and additional interviews in NFL-produced...