Tag: Copyright Preemption

Letters Submitted in Opposition to Proposed New York Right of Publicity Bill

Today, I submitted a letter opposing the current draft of a "right of publicity" bill being rushed through the New York legislature before it closes up shop for the summer. Since my earlier post about the bill SAG-AFTRA has proposed adding language that would eviscerate the exemptions in the bill making it even more urgent...

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...

Usher Sues Sony for Right of Publicity Violation for Use of Voice

No, not that Usher. Jasmine Usher, a Georgia-based singer, is suing Sony Music and the band Travis Porter for the use of her voice on the hit song “Ayye Ladies”. The song reached number sixteen on the Billboard Top 200. Usher claims that her voice was recorded and used on the song without her signing...

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....

Student Athletes Lose Sixth Circuit Appeal in Marshall v. ESPN

Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a short opinion affirming a Tennesse district court's dismissal of claims by student-athletes. Lead plaintiff Javon Marshall (pictured above), a Vanderbilt football player, and other college football and basketball players filed a class-action complaint alleging that television broadcasts of their games by the defendants, including by ESPN,...

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...

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...

Actors Sues for Use of Performance in DVD

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, he did not give permission for it...

Players Associations File Brief Supporting Reversal in Maloney

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 the NCAA and that included images of...