Tag: Right of Publicity

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...

Harris Faulkner Hamster Case Settles

No surprise here. As I predicted, Hasbro and Harris Faulkner have reached a settlement only a few months after a district court in New Jersey denied Habsro's motion to dismiss.  The claim that the toy hamster looked anything like the Fox news reporter was always a stretch, but because the name-based right of publicity claim...

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,...

The Hamster Case Continues as District Court Denies Hasbro’s Motion to Dismiss

A district court in New Jersey denied Hasbro's motion to dimiss Fox news reporter, Harris Faulkner's right of publicity claim.  I wrote earlier about Faulkner's lawsuit against Hasbro for naming its hamster toy Harris Faulkner.  The real-life Faulkner claims that the toy violates her right of publicity by using both her name and likeness, and...

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...

Professors File Brief Supporting Review of O’Bannon and Fixing Right of Publicity Mess

Last week I filed an amicus brief co-authored by Eugene Volokh and signed on to by 28 Constitutional Law and Intellectual Property Law professors supporting the petition for certiorari in O'Bannon, and in particular calling for guidance on the conflict between the First Amendment and the right of publicity. As I have written, O'Bannon v....

Celebrity Chef Sues to Cancel Contract Transferring His Right of Publicity

Celebrity chef Kent Rathbun has sued to invalidate an assignment of his rights to the use of his name and likeness. Rathbun, a former contestant on Iron Chef America and a four-time James Beard-Award nominated chef from Dallas, objects to an onerous contract he signed with H2R Restaurant Holdings and several other Texas businesses, including...