Tag: Right of Publicity

Student-Athletes File Appeal in Marshall v. ESPN

The student-athlete plaintiffs in Marshall have filed their opening brief in their appeal to the Sixth Circuit.  The Tennessee district court had earlier rejected the claim that television broadcasts of collegiate games violated the players’ rights of publicity under Tennessee law.  The brief contends that the district court erred by excluding the sports broadcasts from...

Playboy Playmates Sue Strip Club for Using Their Images

Successful Playboy models, Tiffany Selby, Irina Voronina, and Joanna Krupa, have sued a New York strip club, Café Royale, for using their images to promote the venue.  The models complaint includes claims for right of publicity violations (under New York Civil Rights Law §§ 50-51), false endorsement under the Lanham Act (§ 43), deceptive trade...

Beyonce, Pharrell, Rihanna, Jay-Z, and Kanye West Sue Over Use of their Images and Names on Merchandise

These megastars sued Eleven LLC for using their names and images in a variety of merchandise, including t-shirts, hats, and cell phone covers. Some of the images evoked Hitler and some of the items used lyrics from the artists’ songs. The plaintiffs’ complaint includes claims for violations of New York’s Civil Rights Laws § 50...

Yale Brainstorming Workshop on How to Fix the Right of Publicity

This weekend I took part in an all-day workshop at Yale Law School, sponsored by the Information Society Project and the Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression. Some of the leading right of publicity and First Amendment litigators and scholars in the country were present. The workshop operated under Chatham House rules which means I...

EA Files Cert. Petition in Davis v. Electronic Arts

On Monday, EA filed a Petition seeking Supreme Court review in Davis v. Electronic Arts, 775 F.3d 1172 (9th Cir. 2015).  The video game maker asks the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit and hold that the use of realistic depictions of people in expressive works, including video games, is protected by the First...

Aretha Franklin Gets Documentary Film Pulled from Film Festivals

A lawsuit filed by famous recording artist, Aretha Franklin, against a documentary filmmaker, Allan Elliott, led to the pulling of his documentary film, “Amazing Grace,” from the line-ups at numerous prestigious film festivals, including Telluride and Toronto.  Ms. Franklin claims that the film violated her right of publicity by using some concert footage of her...

Decision in O’Bannon v. NCAA Provides Right of Publicity Edge to the NCAA

The Ninth Circuit’s decision last week upholding the application of antitrust laws to the NCAA, has several implications for student-athletes and their rights of publicity.  The appellate court’s holding that the NCAA could retain its rules requiring students to remain amateur means that student-athletes cannot receive compensation for uses of their names or likenesses, or...

Character in WOLF OF WALL STREET Does Not Violate Real Person’s Publicity Rights

On September 30, 2015, a federal district court in New York dismissed a right of publicity claim brought by former Stratton Oakmont employee, Andrew Greene.  Greene was featured in convicted felon Jordan Belfort's memoir upon which the Martin Scorsese movie was based. The movie, however, did not use the plaintiff's name or likeness, but instead...

Ninth Circuit Denies Rehearing in Davis v. Electronic Arts

The Ninth Circuit denied rehearing in its controversial decision in Davis v. Electronic Arts that the use of real professional athletes identities in a video game was not protected by the First Amendment.  This decision leaves at risk numerous expressive and nonfiction works that include portrayals of historical fiction.  For a detailed analysis of why...