Right of Publicity

News & Analysis as of

Ray v. ESPN, Inc. - USCA, Eighth Circuit, April 22, 2015

Eighth Circuit affirms dismissal of professional wrestler’s state-law right of publicity claims arising from ESPN’s re-telecast of wrestling match footage as preempted by Copyright Act....more

Wearables and the Future of Intellectual Property Law [Video]

Wearables are a fast-growing segment of the consumer technology market. But how will these new devices affect the field of intellectual property law? Attorneys Seth Northrop and Aaron Fahrenkrog discuss patent damages,...more

Parody Or Rip Off?: Don Henley Won’t Take It Easy

Former Eagles drummer and co-lead singer Don Henley has just agreed to settle a lawsuit that he filed against Duluth Trading Co., the clothing retailer best known for its goofy cartoon ads on television. ...more

Even In The UK, Think Twice Before Using Celebrity Endorsements

A recent legal case in the UK between singer Rhianna and fashion retailer Topshop has highlighted differences between publicity rights in the UK and some US jurisdictions. Rhianna sued Topshop for its sale of a t-shirt...more

Chuck Yeager’s Latest Suit Pulls Out of Nose Dive - Yeager et al. v. Fort Knox Security Products

Over the years, well-known aviation figure and retired United States Air Force general, Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager (Yeager) has been engaged in numerous legal disputes, including several lawsuits that Yeager has filed against...more

Bob Marley’s Heirs Lanham Act Win Upheld - Fifty-Six Hope Road Music v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc.

Addressing the issue of when the use of a celebrity’s likeness or persona in connection with a product constitutes a false endorsement that is actionable under the Lanham Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit...more

Stacy Allen Speaks: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Unpopular Celebrities And The Right Of Publicity

In retrospect, the victories won by former college football stars in their right of publicity lawsuits against Electronic Arts and its hugely popular NCAA Football videogame franchise are hardly surprising. How could anyone...more

Ninth Circuit Hears Oral Argument in O’Bannon v. NCAA

On March 17, 2015, a Ninth Circuit panel consisting of Chief Judge Sidley R. Thomas, Circuit Judge Jay S. Bybee and Senior U.S. District Judge Gordon J. Quist, of the Western District of Michigan heard oral argument in...more

Arkansas Narrowly Avoids Enactment Of Sweeping Publicity Rights Statute

Yesterday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed Senate Bill 79. Governor Hutchinson noted that, while the intent of the bill was to “protect the names, voices, signatures, photographs and likenesses of the citizens of...more

Two Rights of Publicity Decisions Explore the Boundaries of Commercial Speech in Commemorating Public Figures

Two recent rights of publicity cases illustrated the parameters of using a public figure’s name, likeness, identity or image for commercial purposes, without consent for commemorative purposes. But when does commemoration...more

Trademark Review | March 2015

Registration Cancelled Where Services Related to Mark Not Provided - Playdom, Inc. filed a petition to cancel Couture’s mark, arguing that the registration was void because Couture did not use the mark in commerce as of...more

Time for Your Close-up: The Right of Publicity in the Social Media Era

Michael Jordan is one of America’s most revered and iconic professional athletes. He spectacularly led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships, was named league MVP for five years and, off the court, reached a...more

Michael Jordan Denied Summary Judgment on His Right of Publicity Claim against Illinois Grocer

In 2009, Michael Jordan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. To commemorate Jordan’s career, Time Inc. published a special Sports Illustrated Presents issue that included congratulatory “advertisements” from several...more

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words - and Maybe $150,000!: Helpful Hints and Guidelines on the Use of Internet Images

A bank manager decides to update the bank’s website. The IT manager assigned the project wants to include photographs and images to enhance the information on the website. The IT manager uses several photographs from the...more

Court Finds Misappropriation Claims Arising From Licensing of Copyrighted Photographs Are Preempted

Judge André Birotte Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has dismissed a lawsuit brought by former college athletes alleging that the licensing of copyrighted photographs from their NCAA...more

Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, Ltd. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc. - USCA, Ninth Circuit, February 20, 2015

Following jury verdict on Lanham Act claim in favor of entity owned by Bob Marley’s children, Ninth Circuit affirms denial of defendants’ motion for judgment as matter of law, finding that trial evidence supported jury’s...more

Rhoads v. Margolis - Cal. App. 2d, January 26, 2015

In lawsuit brought by family of guitarist Randy Rhoads against writer and publisher of his biography, California appellate court affirms lower court denial of anti-SLAPP motion as it relates to family's breach of contract...more

Davis: Electronic Arts Gets a New Set of Downs and Still Can’t Score

Just over a month ago I wrote about the Davis v. Electronic Arts matter that was pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.  Specifically, I opined that the matter was ripe for Supreme Court review in light of the...more

USA: Ninth Circuit Rejects EA’s “Incidental Use” Defense in Madden-Related Right of Publicity Suit

On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit decided that Electronic Arts Inc.’s (“EA”) unauthorized use of former NFL players’ likeness as avatars in the Madden NFL video game series does not qualify for First Amendment protection....more

Advertising Law - January 2015 #2

Safeway Must Pay Customers for Higher Online Prices - A California federal court judge has ruled in a breach of contract suit that Safeway is liable to customers who paid more for items online than in the store. ...more

Davis v. Electronic Arts: Another Right of Publicity Loss for Media Companies

On January 6, 2015, Electronic Arts, Inc. (“EA”), maker of Madden NFL video games, lost its appeal to dismiss claims by approximately 6,000 retired professional football players in Michael Davis, et. al v. Electronic Arts,...more

Does the Ebola-free Nurse Doll Raise a Right of Publicity Claim?

In general, a right of publicity is a right to control use of your name, likeness, and other aspects of your identity. Right of publicity laws normally give an individual the exclusive right to license the use of their...more

Sports, Media and Entertainment Intelligence - January 2015 (Global)

UK: World Anti-Doping Agency announce collaboration with Pfizer - On 3 December 2014, the World Anti-Doping Agency announced a global collaboration agreement with American pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer Inc, aimed at...more

USA: Do Athletes Have Rights of Publicity in Live Broadcast Footage? Minnesota Court Offers Guidance

U.S. courts have recognized that “there is no judicial consensus on how to resolve conflicts between intellectual-property rights and free-speech rights.” Indeed, courts have adopted varying approaches to analyzing right of...more

Henley Is Not Taking It Easy

According to music icon Don Henley, intellectual property rights are not a joking matter....more

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