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Minnesota considering Right of Publicity legislation, aka “Prince Law”

May 12, 2016 No Comments »
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That Minnesota should consider enacting publicity rights legislation is something I stated here shortly after Prince’s untimely passing: http://rightofpublicity.com/prince-knew-the-value-of-his-intellectual-property-42216  Minnesota has responded with draft right of publicity legislation, SF 3609, posted on May 11, 2016:  https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF3609&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2016&session_number=0

Predictably, critics of the legislation are taking issue with the bill on First Amendment grounds: http://www.law360.com/ip/articles/794846?nl_pk=bb8aeb3e-4ab9-4ba4-a0af-b895a107fd8a&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ip

While the legislation likely would benefit from expanding the list of fair use exemptions, such as for books, overall the legislation is in good shape and appears well-balanced in its reach and application.

As we have seen from the Michael Jackson estate and questions concerning the valuation of his right of publicity, I expect Prince’s estate will go through a similar review by the IRS.  It should be noted that Minnesota’s potential adoption of the “Prince law” is not dispositive on whether or not Prince’s estate possess a right of publicity.  It should be assumed that it already does.  How it should be treated for taxation purposes is another question altogether.


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