Right of Publicity

Are Rights of Publicity the Fatal Flaw of the Mugshot Racket?

Before the holidays, Wired reported the filing of a putative class action in Ohio against a group of privately owned websites that allegedly collect and publish mugshot photos, and then charge those whose photos appear exorbitant amounts to have the photos removed.

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Copyright in Tattoo Case: Escobedo v. THQ, Inc.

Excerpt from Escobedo v.

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Pinterest: Fair Use of Images, Building Communities, Fan Pages, Copyright

When using Pinterest (and Flickr and YouTube and Facebook and on and on), what copyright, fair use, trademark and other issues weigh on building communities and corporate use of fan pages and social media generally?  A hypothetical “Company” has plans for its Pinterest “community”, and in particular, wonders about these situations:

  • Using Images of Identifiable People
  • Fair Use and Images
  • Trademarks: When is a “Fair Use” Argument Strongest?
  • Why Attribution and Linking to Original Sources is Important

3 introductory questions:

Question #1: Someone used to be a paid Company sponsor or spokesperson.  They are no longer.  Can the Company continue to post a photo of the old sponsor to Pinterest? Short Answer: If the contract with the sponsor expressly permits it, yes.  Ordinarily, the contract would specify engagement for limited time, and that would prohibit rights to use images beyond the contract period.  But it really depends on what the contract says.

Question #2: Can the Company post a photo of a fan of the Company? Short Answer: Express consent is required, either through a release or the fan’s agreement (whenever the photo is submitted) to terms of service.  Exceptions are discussed below.

Question #3: Can the Company post a photo of a Coca-Cola bottle on its Pinterest page? Short Answer: If the use of the image does not suggest (implicitly or explicitly) endorsement or association, then yes.

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When Your Engagement Photo Becomes a Political Ad: Parody and Right of Publicity

The issue of same-sex unions is hotly debated, and the discussion is heating up this election year with the case on California’s Proposition 8 making its way to the Supreme Court, and with President Obama recently declaring that he is in favor of same-sex marriage.

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From Accident Photos to the White House: Contesting Photo Use in Newspaper Merchandise Sales

Take a moment to explore your daily newspaper's webpage. You'll likely find recent articles and archives, video materials, job postings, classifieds, sidebars with advertisements, various forms of social media integration, and, most surprisingly (or perhaps not, considering the financial challenges journalism faces), a store.

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The Right of Publicity and Free Speech: DMLP Joins Amicus Brief in Hart v. Electronic Arts

Last week the Digital (nee Citizen) Media Law Project joined an amicus curiae brief filed in Hart v. Electronic Arts, Inc., currently before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

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Everybody's Public to Somebody?: Social Media and the Public/Private Divide

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First Amendment doctrine is sort of obsessed with the idea of a public/private divide – the idea that we can clearly slice society up into those things that are "public" (about which we want robust discussion, so we protect that discussion with the Bill of Rights) and those that are "private" (less societally important, so less protected).

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Hustler Spread of Murder Victim: Arguably Tasteless, but Certainly First Amendment Protected

In June 2007, professional wrestling promotrix, Nancy Benoit and her son, Daniel, were the victims of a double murder-suicide committed by her husband, WWE wrestler, Chris Benoit.

Approximately 20 years earlier, Ms. Benoit (then Nancy Daus) posed nude for photographer Mark Samansky. Benoit/Daus allegedly had a change of heart and requested that the materials be destroyed. Nevertheless, Samansky kept the video and made stills from it.

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