Right of Publicity

News & Analysis as of

California Court of Appeal Rules Models’ Right of Publicity Claims Assignable, Not Preempted by Copyright Act

The California Court of Appeal held earlier this month that certain right of publicity claims are freely assignable, and that the Copyright Act does not preempt a right of publicity claim where the defendant has no legal...more

Intellectual Property and Technology News - Issue 22, Q2 2014

In This Issue: - Celebrity Endorsements on Social Media: 7 Tips For Navigating The Right Of Publicity - Landmark Privacy Ruling In Europe - US Congress May Act Again On Patent Reform - Supreme Court...more

Intellectual Property Alert: U.S. Supreme Court Rules in ABC v. Aereo

On June 26, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court decided American Broadcasting Companies, et al. v. Aereo. The 6-3 ruling holds that Aereo’s business model of streaming live broadcast television content over the Internet to its...more

Celebrity endorsements on social media: 7 tips for navigating the right of publicity

Social media makes building a brand easy: the tools are laid out in front of you, ready to launch your company to worldwide fame with a click of the mouse. Craft a few irreverent tweets, refresh the company Facebook page and...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Spring 2014

Right of Publicity? First, Let Me Take a Selfie - “Oh, he wants to do a selfie,” President Barack Obama observed with amusement before gamely posing with Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. Ortiz snapped the...more

Advertising Law - May 2014

Schwarzenegger Sues Over Publicity Rights - The Governator has filed a $10 million suit alleging that Nevada-based Arnold Nutrition Group “brazenly stole[] and exploited” his likeness to market its products in...more

Can a selfie change the rules of the commercial speech game?

David Ortiz, known affectionately as “Big Papi,” is larger than life. As a clutch hitter for the Boston Red Sox, Ortiz’s swing is only matched by his big, friendly personality — both of which have served him well. With...more

Sports, Media and Entertainment Intelligence - May 2014 (Global)

UK: London's IP anti-crime unit shuts down leading sports file sharing site - The City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has successfully shut down the Sports Torrent Network, a leading sports...more

Privacy or Property? Arizona Court Adopts Post-Mortem Right of Publicity In Intra-Family Online Dispute

The right of publicity, i.e., the right not to have others appropriate your name or image for commercial purposes, is an odd duck. It was described by Professor Prosser in 1960, and later in the Restatement of Torts, as of...more

California Federal Court Finds that the First Amendment Does Not Preclude Sporting Event Participants from Asserting...

On April 11, 2014, a California federal court issued a First Amendment ruling that has potentially significant implications for broadcasters in the sports-media industry. Specifically, the Northern District of California’s...more

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Those Rights of Publicity

Earlier this month, Katherine Heigl sued Duane Reade for $6,000,000 for tweeting a paparazzi photo of her leaving a Duane Reade drugstore, together with the caption “Love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even KatieHeigle can’t resist...more

MarkIt to Market - April 2014

The April issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to MarketTM newsletter contains a cautionary tale regarding use of social media, a clarified test for false advertising standing, updates to Canada's Trade-marks Act, and an updated...more

California Federal Court Finds that the First Amendment Does Not Preclude Sporting Event Participants from Asserting...

On April 11, 2014, a California federal court issued a First Amendment ruling that has potentially significant implications for broadcasters in the sports-media industry. Specifically, the Northern District of California’s...more

Risks Of Tribute Advertisements Are Focus Of Seventh Circuit Decision

Think the First Amendment protects your business from liability for running an ad congratulating a celebrity or other public figure? Better think again. ...more

Right of Publicity? First, Let Me Take a Selfie

“Oh, he wants to do a selfie,” President Barack Obama observed with amusement before gamely posing with Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. Ortiz snapped the shot using his Samsung smartphone during a visit to the...more

Can Private Photos Be Used In Political Ads Without Permission? Colorado Court Rejects Gay Couple’s Misappropriation Claim;...

When we upload family pictures to the internet, we understand that, in theory, anyone in the world might download them and use them for some nefarious purpose. However, we usually take comfort in the fact that most of us...more

Purple Haze Lifted by Ninth Circuit Regarding Jimi Hendrix’s Post-Mortem Publicity Rights

In Experience Hendrix L.L.C. v. HendrixLicensing.com LTD, Nos. 11–35858, 11–35872 (9th Cir. Jan. 29, 2014), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of Washington State’s Personality Rights Act (WPRA),...more

Cyberlaw: Of Athletes And Video Games

Can a video game company use an athlete’s likeness in a game without his or her permission? The answer is maybe. The Ninth Circuit recently rejected Jim Brown’s Lanham Act Section 43 claim against Electronic Arts, Inc....more

Liability Insurer May Have to Cover Knockoff Jewelry Site for Allegedly Violating Reese Witherspoon’s Right of Publicity

Have you always wanted to own “The One Ring to Rule Them All” of Lord of the Rings fame? Do you dream of an engagement ring just like Kate Middleton’s? Your dreams can come true with a visit to Emitations.com, a website...more

Experience Jimi Hendrix, Post-Mortem Publicity Rights - Experience Hendrix LLC et al. v. HendrixLicensing.com LTD et al.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, reversing a district court’s ruling finding unconstitutional the provisions of the Washington Personality Rights Act pertaining to post-mortem publicity rights, qualified that...more

Publicity rights vs. the First Amendment

The right of publicity continues to emerge as a significant intellectual property right of which businesses must be aware—not only in the context of advertising and marketing, but in the context of a company’s product itself....more

Family of Jack Gibson, founder of the National Association of Radio Announcers for Black Radio DJs, enforces famous mark “Jack the...

Judge Thrash issued a ruling granting in part and denying in part the motion for summary judgment of plaintiffs (Jill Gibson Bell, et. al., hereinafter “Gibson Family”) against Billy Darren Foster (“Foster”) for trade mark...more

Heirs’ Right of Publicity

When I read about one of the recent “right of publicity” cases, I thought back to the Eighties and “Who Shot JR?” This is because Mary Crosby, as the character Kristin Shepard, was the one who shot JR in 1980 on the widely...more

“Hustlin’” to a Legal Victory: Rick Ross and the Right of Publicity

California gives you the right to profit from your own identity. But what if you assume somebody else’s? Rick Ross is famous for rapping about cocaine. Ricky D. Ross is famous for selling it. Ross (the cocaine...more

Leggo My Likeness Part V: Grand Theft Right of Publicity?

This year, several important video game lawsuits helped clarify the parameters for using a celebrity’s likeness in video games. Generally speaking, courts have found that, unless you get permission, you can’t put a celebrity...more

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