Tag: Post-Mortem Rights

Coca-Cola Wins Round II as California Appellate Court Reverses Massive Jury Award

The California Court of Appeal for the Fourth District reversed an almost $10 million jury award against Coca-Cola in Hansen v. Coca-Cola Company in a recent unpublished decision. The dispute arises out of the Hansen’s sodas and juice brand (now owned by Coca-Cola) and a trust composed of the real Hubert Hansen’s descendents who claim...

Mixed Victory for Jackson Estate in Tax Court

On May 3rd, the U.S. Tax Court issued the long-awaited decision in the long-running litigation over the estate taxes owed by the Michael Jackson estate. In a sweeping 253-page opinion (with additional appendices) the Tax Court, clearly cognizant that this opinion will likely be read by many more people than the usual tax decision, quotes...

New York Governor Signs New Postmortem Right of Publicity Bill

On November 30th, 2020, the Governor of New York signed into law a new postmortem provision which for the first time will add a postmortem right to the state's law, lasting 40 years after death. This new law also addresses the unlawful dissemination and publication of  "sexually explicit depictions," and adds a digital replica right...

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...

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...

New York Reintroduces Right of Publicity Bill with Dueling Versions

Last week the New York Senate introduced a substantially revised version of a right of publicity bill, S5959.  There are many promising improvements in this draft from the earlier assembly version (reintroduced in February), but also a lot of concerns raised by the draft. I am told that the Assembly will be introducing a different...

Who Owns You When You are Dead

The video has finally been posted from my July talk about postmortem rights of publicity for the USPTO’s National Trademark Exposition held at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. My talk is followed by comments by a former IRS examiner and tax attorney, and a panel discussion with basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his business manager....

New York Legislature Deluged with Letters Opposing Right Of Publicity Bill

Dozens of letters opposing the recently reintroduced and amended version of a right of publicity bill in New York have already been submitted to members of the New York legislature.  Letters so far include ones by: The Media Coalition, New York State Broadcasters Association, Association of Magazine Media, Getty Images, Shutterstock, Motion Picture Association of...

New York Right of Publicity Bill Resurrected Again

Once again as the New York legislature nears the end of its term for the year, the Assembly is trying to push through an ill-thought-out right of publicity bill without allowing for hearings and public debate on the bill. An amended version of the bill was introduced yesterday. The amended version suffers from most of...

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...