Thursday, 8 October 2015
Professor Rothman's Right of Publicity Resource
The likeness and name of a celebrity can be very economically valuable. Notably, Michael Jordan recently disclosed in a trial concerning the unlicensed use of his likeness and name that he made $100 million in sponsorship deals in one year. Jordan was successful in that suit with a jury awarding him almost $9 million in damages. In the United States, the right of publicity is one of the legal rights used to protect one's likeness and name. The right of publicity is also a matter of state law and the scope, duration and existence of the right varies from state to state. So, there are potentially 50 different state laws concerning the right. In a 2011 article titled, "Why a Federal Right of Publicity Statute is Necessary," Kevin L. Vick and Jean-Paul Jassy make convincing arguments for why a federal right of publicity law should be passed and that it should preempt state law. Notably, one significant concern is the breadth and length of some states' right of publicity laws, particularly in light of First Amendment concerns. The scope of the problem with patchwork state law can be seen elegantly with Loyola Law School's (Los Angeles) Professor Jennifer Rothman's new right of publicity website: Rothman's Roadmap to the Right of Publicity. The website helpfully sets forth the law impacting the right of publicity in all 50 states and includes commentary concerning the right. Take a look for yourself, here.