Tag: California

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

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 marketing the ale without permission. The complaint...

Another Actor Fights Back Against Nude Photos

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 alleges a violation of California Civil Code...

Olivia de Havilland Back in the Spotlight

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 its miniseries Feud. She claims that the...

Warhol Foundation Claims Fair Use of Photographs of Dead Pop Star Prince

Oh, how the chickens come home to roost. In Comedy III v. Saderup, Inc., the California Supreme Court distinguished Andy Warhol’s celebrity portraits from those of Gary Saderup’s realistic portraits of The Three Stooges. Now this unconvincing and unpredictable distinction between Warhol’s celebrity portraits and those by other less famous, and more “realistic” artists is...

Copyright Law Blocks Student-Athlete Suit over Sale of Game Photos

Today, the Ninth Circuit held in Maloney v. T3 Media that former collegiate athletes’ right of publicity claims arising out of the licensing of their photos by T3 Media were barred by copyright law. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court opinion in the case. Unfortunately, rather than clarifying the district court’s muddled analysis, it...

Supreme Court Punts on O’Bannon v. NCAA

On Monday, the Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari in O'Bannon v. NCAA, a Ninth Circuit decision from September 2015. The decision upheld the application of antitrust laws to the NCAA. The decision in O'Bannon rested in part on the conclusion that the use of the players' names and likenesses in videogames required licensing....

Julia Child Foundation Sues Airbnb for Using Her Name

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 teacher, author and television personality" who wrote...

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

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 publicity. As I have written, O'Bannon v....

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

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 the Ninth Circuit's "flawed intepretation of the...

Supreme Court Denies Review of Davis v. 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 constitutional law scholars had called on the...