News & Commentary

Ninth Circuit Tosses Hurt Locker Case

February 17, 2016 9:48 pm
Sarver hurt locker right of publicity case ninth circuit opinion out
Today the Ninth Circuit finally decided Sarver v. Chartier. The court affirmed the district court’s holding that the alleged use of Sergeant Jeffrey Sarver’s identity in the Academy-Award winning film The Hurt Locker is protected by the First Amendment. The ultimate holding that the use of a real...

PGA Can Use Caddies as “Human Billboards”

February 12, 2016 2:41 am
Caddy bibs from right of publicity complaint hicks v. pga
Earlier this week, a federal district court dismissed a right of publicity claim by golf caddies against the PGA. The caddies objected to being forced to wear bibs that advertise various tournaments, golfers, and third-party corporations. The complaint was filed in September 2015 as part of a move...

Actors Sues for Use of Performance in DVD

January 21, 2016 12:19 am
McCabe v. Entertainment One
Brian McCabe, an actor, has sued Entertainment One and Swirl Films for selling DVDs of Community Service, a television show, that he had agreed to appear in and that he knew would be televised.  McCabe claims that although he agreed to the airing of his performance on television,...

Darlene Love Sues Google for Using Her Voice

January 20, 2016 6:35 am
love v. google right of publicity law suit
Darlene Love, an “icon of pop music’s golden age,” sued Google today for using her voice in advertising for mobile phones. Love is ranked 84 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of all-time list, and is best known for He’s A Rebel, Alone on Christmas, and Christmas (Baby...

NFL Player Pierre Garcon Drops Right of Publicity Suit Against FanDuel

January 15, 2016 12:31 am
Fanduel logo in right of publicity lawsuit versus Fanduel
Yesterday, Pierre Garcon dropped his class action against FanDuel for using his and other NFL players' names and likenesses in fantasy football games. It is not clear yet whether some sort of settlement was reached or if so, what monetary payout might have been made. Garcon may also...

Child Star Chachi’s Lawsuit Against her Mother is Dismissed

January 8, 2016 5:21 am
Chachi Gonzalez right of publicity law suit versus mother
Olivia “Chachi” Gonzales, 19, is best known for her appearance and victory on MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” in 2011. Chachi designed her own dance apparel and started selling “Chachimomma” pants similar to ones that she made popular by wearing them on the TV show.  While Chachi was...

The Ninth Circuit Resurrects Sarver

January 5, 2016 6:02 am
hurt locker right of publicty sarver v. chartier resubmitted
On Christmas Eve, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals resubmitted Sarver v. Chartier for consideration.  I posted earlier about this long-lingering right of publicity lawsuit arising out of the Academy-Award winning film The Hurt Locker.  If the Supreme Court grants certiorari in Davis v. Electronic Arts—a case being...

The Eleventh Circuit Allows Use of Rosa Parks’ Name and Image on Merchandise

January 5, 2016 3:51 am
Parks v. Target right of publicity eleventh circuit decision commemorative plaque by Marrott
Today, the Eleventh Circuit rejected a lawsuit by the Rosa Parks Institute—which owns the rights to the deceased Park’s name and likeness. The case involved the Target retail chain’s selling of books, and a movie about Rosa Parks, as well as a commemorative plaque that contained her and...

Players Associations File Brief Supporting Reversal in Maloney

December 11, 2015 7:12 pm
NFL players brief in Maloney v. T3 media right of publicity ninth circuit appeal
Earlier this week the NFL, MLB, NHL and MLS players associations filed an amicus brief supporting the NCAA student-athletes' appeal from a decision that held that their right of publicity claims were preempted by copyright law. The student-athletes objected to the sale of photographs that were licensed by...

African-American Model Claims Right of Publicity Violation and Race Discrimination when She is Replaced by White Model

December 11, 2015 6:31 pm
Amanda Ermon right of publicity lawsuit photograph
African-American model Amanda Ermon has sued several real estate firms for using photographs of her that were sold to them by a photographer without her permission. The photographer allegedly had taken the pictures with her permission, but only had authorization to display the photographs in his studio. Ermon...