NYSBA Memorandum in Opposition to NYS Legislation on Section 50-f of the Civil Rights Law

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The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Media Law (the “Committee”)writes to strongly oppose Senate Bill 8373-A (“S.8373-A”), which would add a new section to Article 5 of the New York Civil Rights Law, Section 50-f, creating a “right of publicity” for deceased persons. The bill would prohibit the use “for advertising

purposes” or “for the purposes of trade” of the “persona”—defined as “the name, portrait, voice and/or picture” —of any person who died within 70 years before the effective date of the legislations, or who dies on or after such effective date without the written permission of such person’s heirs, estate or licensees. These rights would be

granted retroactively to persons who are already dead and would last for 70 years after death. Currently, the right of publicity in the state is grounded solely in New York Civil Rights Law §§50 and 51, and related case law, and the right is afforded only to living persons.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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