Tag: California

First Amendment Protects Use of Olivia de Havilland in FEUD Docudrama

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 publicity and false light claims. The three-judge...

New York Times Article on De Havilland Case

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 case.  My op-ed, in print, the same...

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

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 about real people may be a thing...

“Simpsonized” Animated Character Held Transformative

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 television series, The Simpsons, that he claimed...

Thelonious Monk Estate Survives Motion to Dismiss by Brewery

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 beer. As I wrote in a detailed...

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

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 of real people, particularly public figures, in...

Law Professors Call for Reversal in De Havilland and the Protection of Biographies and Biographical Films

Yesterday, I filed a brief co-authored with Rebecca Tushnet and Eugene Volokh asking the California Court of Appeal to reverse the trial court’s decision in De Havilland v. FX Networks as to the right of publicity claim. The case, first filed at the end of June last year, involves a lawsuit by Hollywood legend Olivia...

Fox Moves for a TKO in Lawsuit Brought by Muhammad Ali Estate

Earlier this week Fox filed motions for judgment on the pleadings and an Anti-SLAPP motion to strike in the case brought last fall against it for airing a tribute to the recently deceased boxing great Muhammad Ali before its broadcast of the 2017 Superbowl. I previously expressed the view that the lawsuit should be tossed...

Whitney Houston Estate Settles with IRS over Right of Publicity Valuation

The Whitney Houston estate and the IRS have settled their dispute over the value of the Grammy award-winner’s estate. The more than $11 million dollar disagreement in the amount of taxes owed centered on the valuation of Houston’s intellectual property rights, and particularly the value of her postmortem right of publicity. The estate had claimed...

The Plot (and Feud) Thickens

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 the longstanding conflict between Joan Crawford and...