Tag: First Amendment

Third Circuit Holds that Newscaster’s Right of Publicity Claim can Proceed against Facebook

The Third Circuit in a 2-to-1 decision in Hepp v. Facebook has parted ways with the Ninth Circuit by holding that the Communications Decency Act § 230 (CDA § 230) allows right of publicity claims. This reversal of the district court allows the plaintiff Karen Hepp’s lawsuit to proceed against Facebook. The case involves a...

Toddlers’ Lawsuit Against Trump Tossed in Test of New York’s Expanded anti-SLAPP Law

On July 9th, a New York trial court dismissed the high-profile lawsuit against Trump, Trump for President, Inc. (“TFP), and Lance Cook brought by the parents of two toddlers whose embrace was transformed from a meme of racial harmony into an edited video suggesting one of them was a “racist baby.” The parents of the two-year olds...

Dua Lipa Sued Over Posting Photo of Herself on Instagram

Dua Lipa has been sued by Integral Images, Inc. in district court in California for posting a photo of herself on her Instagram feed.  This is yet another in a string of copyright lawsuits arising out of celebrities (like Khloe Kardashian & Tom Brady) posting images of themselves on social media when they are not the copyright holders of...

Win for Free Speech and Docudramas in New York

Last week a New York appellate court granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion in Porco v. Lifetime Entertainment Services, the long-running dispute over Lifetime’s ripped-from-the-headlines docudrama Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story, which first aired in 2013.  This decision reverses the trial’s court’s alarming rejection of the defendant's summary judgment motion on the basis that...

The Third Circuit Upholds First Amendment Defense in Video Game Case

In a nonprecedential opinion the Third Circuit held that the First Amendment insulates the makers of the video game Gears of War from a right of publicity claim. The case, Hamilton v. Speight, involves a right of publicity claim brought by the plaintiff, Lenwood Hamilton, who alleged that his identity was used for one of...

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...

New York Reintroduces Much Improved Postmortem Right of Publicity Bill

During its usual off-season, the New York legislature is revisiting its multi-year efforts to add new sections to its civil rights law and in particular to add a postmortem provision to state law. This latest version would add two sections to NY's Civil Rights Law,  what it dubs a new “right of publicity” and a...

New York Trial Court Allows Right of Publicity Case to Proceed Against TV Docudrama

Once again a New York court has allowed Christopher Porco (hereinafter “Chris”) and his mother, Joan Porco, to proceed with their right of publicity claims brought under New York Civil Rights Law § 51 arising out of a Lifetime docudrama. Chris and Joan object to the use of their names and identitites in the film...

In final hours, New York Makes Last Minute Changes to Right of Publicity Bill

Apparently dropping around midnight Sunday, the New York legislature made a set of last-minute  changes to the proposed right of publicity bill. The amendments focused solely on addressing broadcasters' concerns that remasters of existing works would violate the newly proposed "digital replica" right. Such remastering is now excluded from the provision. This change does nothing...

Letters and Statements of Opposition Filed Against Proposed New York Right of Publicity Bills

I sent a letter to members of the New York legislature and their staff today opposing the proposed right of publicity bills that have been introduced in the Senate and Assembly. I focus on four major concerns with the legislation: 1) the proposed redefinitions of the right of privacy and right of publicity, (2) the creation...