Thoughts on current legal news in media, technology and the arts

The Lively Jurisprudence of Dead Celebrities: Albert Einstein, New Jersey, and the Post-Mortem Right of Publicity

Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 | Posted by Lizbeth Hasse, Esq. | Labels:

Will your image live longer than you do?  Artists, celebrities, and other creatives often invest substantial time and effort cultivating a personal brand image, and most likely anticipate its longevity.  The law recognizes a person’s right to profit from this investment by preventing third parties from “free riding” on a famous individual’s name or likeness.  A majority of states recognize this “right of publicity,” but vary as to whether this right should outlast its initial rightsholder and for how long.  In some, like New York, the right is extinguished with the death of the individual.  But in others, including California, the right of publicity constitutes personal property that can be passed on to ones’ heirs.


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