Federal Court in Tennessee rejects student-athletes’ right of publicity claim against ESPN for game broadcasts

By Jennifer E. Rothman
June 8, 2015

In June of 2015, a district court in Tennessee rejected a class action claim by student-athletes that their rights of publicity were being violated by the broadcast of collegiate games.  The court held that the use of their names and likenesses in the context of the broadcasts was outside the scope of the statutory right of publicity in Tennessee (and also the common law, if that continued to exist, which the court thought it did not).  An appeal in this case is currently pending before the Sixth Circuit.  Notably, the district court did not consider the First Amendment defense nor the copyright preemption defense.

Marshall v. ESPN, Inc., __ F.Supp.3d__, 2015 WL 3606645 (M.D. Ten., June 8, 2015)