Tag: Right to Privacy

Louisiana’s Allen Toussaint Legacy Act Heads to Governor’s Desk

After several years of trying, the Allen Toussaint Legacy Act has now passed both chambers of the Louisiana legislature and was sent yesterday to the Governor for signature. The Act, SB426, is named after the famed New Orleans musician, songwriter, and producer, Allen Toussaint who died in 2015. The proposed law provides individuals with a...

Federal Circuit Holds Bar on Registering “Trump Too Small” Violates First Amendment

On Thursday, the Federal Circuit decided In re Elster and reversed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) rejection of a trademark application by Steve Elster to register “Trump Too Small” on t-shirts and other apparel. An example of the relevant merchandise can be seen here. The examining attorney for the Patent and Trademark Office...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Pennsylvania District Court Holds Right of Publicity Claims Barred by Communications Decency Act Section 230

A federal district court in Pennsylvania granted Facebook, Imgur, and Reddit’s respective motions to dismiss claims that they had violated Karen Hepp’s common law and statutory rights of publicity under Pennsylvania law. The Court held her claims barred by the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”)'s Section 230, 47 U.S.C. § 230. The case arose when Ms....