The leading online Right of Publicity resource.

Notable Cases

If you think Right of Publicity statutes can be perplexing, wait until you read some of the landmark cases concerning the Right of Publicity. That is not to say that the Right of Publicity as a doctrine does not have discernible standards–it does, and in most cases, application of the Right of Publicity to a given situation can be made with consistent results. But bear in mind, it is an evolving doctrine, and it is a state-based right. As such, case law concerning the Right of Publicity is not as consistent as copyright or trademark, which are derived primarily from Federal law.

The cases below are sortable by plaintiff, date or state. To sort the cases by one of these criteria, click on the title at the top of that column. To download an individual case, click on the name of the plaintiff.


Abdul Jabbar v. GM 1996 California
Allison 1998 Georgia
Apple Corps Limited 1986 California
Bela Lugosi v. Universal Pictures 1979 California
Cairns 2002 California
C.B.C. Dist. v. Major League Baseball 2006 Missouri
Cardtoons 1996 Oklahoma
Comedy III Productions, Inc. 2001 California
Dillinger v. EA 2011 Indiana
Don Henley v. Dillard Dept. Stores 1999 Texas
Downing v. Abercrombie & Fitch 2001 California
Dustin Hoffman v. Capital Cities/ABC Inc. 1999 California
Einstein (HUJ) v GM 2012 California
ETW Corporation 2003 Ohio
Fleet v. CBS, Inc. 1996 California
Gionfriddo v. MLB 2001 California
Haelan Laboratories 1953 New York
Hart v. EA ruling 2013 New Jersey
Hendrix v. Hendrix 2005 Washington
Herman Miller, Inc. v. Palazzetti 2001 Michigan
Jackson v. Roberts 2020 Connecticut
James Brown v. Corbis ruling 2008 Illinois
Jim Brown v. EA ruling 2013 California
Johnny Carson v. Here’s Johnny Portable Toilets, Inc. 1983 Michigan
James Brown v. ACMI, Corbis et. al. 2007 Illinois
Keller v. EA, NCAA ruling 2013 California
Kirby v. Sega of America 2006 California
KNB Enterprises 2000 California
Major Taylor 2010 Indiana
Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Social Change, Inc. 1982 Georgia
Michael Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores 2014 Illinois
Midler 1988 California
Motschenbacher 1974 California
Namath v. Sports Illustrated 1975 New York
Pavesich 1905 Georgia
Playboy Ent. v. Terri Welles 1998 California
Rosa Parks 2003 Michigan
Rufo v. OJ Simpson 2001 California
Shaw Family Archives v. CMG Worldwide & Marilyn Monroe LLC 2008 New York
Toney v. L’Oreal 2005 Illinois
Ventura 1995 Minnesota
Waits 1992 California
Warner Bros. v. Curtis Mngmnt Grp & James Dean Fnd. 1993 California
Wendt v. Host Int’l (Cheers) 1999 California
White 1992 California
White 1993 California
Winter 2003 California
Zacchini 1977 Ohio


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