Tag: Commercial Speech

50 Cent’s Right of Publicity Claim Preempted by Copyright Law

Earlier this week, the Second Circuit, in an opinion penned by Judge Pierre Leval, held that a right of publicity claim by rap artist Curtis James Jackson III, better known as 50 Cent, was preempted by federal copyright law. The claim was brought under Connecticut law and arose out of Jackson’s objection to the use...

Amazon Beats Right of Publicity Claim for Use of Photograph on Book Cover

Last week the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Roe v. Amazon held that booksellers Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble (among others) could not be held liable for violating the privacy and publicity rights of a couple whose image was used without permission on the cover of an erotic novel displayed on those companies’ websites....

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...

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...

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...

Eighth Circuit Tosses NFL Players’ Lawsuit

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 historical documentaries about “significant games, seasons, and...

PGA Can Use Caddies as “Human Billboards”

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 to obtain better treatment of caddies on...

Darlene Love Sues Google for Using Her Voice

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 Please Come Home). She is also known...

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

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 Martin Luther King’s images, an inspirational quote...

Article in Virginia Law Review Documents Expansive Reach of the Right of Publicity

My latest article, Commercial Speech, Commercial Use and the Intellectual Property Quagmire, is in print this week in the Virginia Law Review. The article considers the role in intellectual property laws of commercial speech doctrine and considerations of commerciality more generally (usually in the sense of a use that is for profit). In terms of right...