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Larry Bird mural presents interesting scenario for IP analysis

August 21, 2019 No Comments »
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Not that it would happen, but I can imagine providing the scenario in the following link as a law school exam:  Larry Bird mural

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nba/larry-bird-wants-tattoos-removed-from-street-artists-mural-of-him/ar-AAG5jpx?ocid=spartanntp

It does not appear headed towards legal action, but hypothetically, how could this go?  On the copyright front, is it a fair use?  A derivative work?  Does adding tattoos that Bird obviously does not have change the copyright analysis?

On the Right of Publicity front, or perhaps on the privacy front, what issues exist?  Is it a commercial use?  Is it protected by statute?  Are there issues involved here that sway the analysis in one direction or the other?


Tara Reid sues over Sharknado merchandise

December 11, 2018 No Comments »
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Actress Tara Reid apparently has filed a lawsuit seeking $100 million relating to merchandising of the Sharknado film franchise.   Reportedly at issue are product categories such as branded beer and slot machines with her likeness on them, which according to her contract require her separate approval.   From a distance, this looks like a contract dispute more than a Right of Publicity case, though certainly the Right of Publicity is implicated by the issues at hand.  If her likeness is on the product, one hopes that the transformative test would not be twisted and stretched to attempt an argument that the image on the product is meant to be the character from the film, not the actress herself, that her likeness is transformed.  But it wouldn’t be the first time a carefully tailored test gets twisted down the line.

Here is Forbes coverage of the lawsuit:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/legalentertainment/2018/12/07/tara-reid-sues-sharknado-producers-for-100m/#26b5b9672c46


Beyonce suit against Feyonce knockoffs illustrates need for Right of Publicity distinct from trademark

October 2, 2018 No Comments »
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A Judge recently denied Beyoncé’s request for injunctive relief against a Texas company selling a range of products using “Feyonce.”

Apparently, the Feyonce pun is based on the proximity to the word fiancé.  The Judge’s ruling, in summary, is that there was not a sufficient showing of potential confusion among customers that Feyonce was infringing Beyoncé’s trademark rights.

Thus, the need for Right of Publicity as a distinct form of intellectual property, that trademark does not adequately address, is illustrated yet again.

Here’s a link to more information on the ruling and the case:  Beyonce Feyonce Lawsuit

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-music-beyonce-lawsuit/no-injunction-for-beyonc-over-feyonc-knockoffs-u-s-judge-idUSKCN1MB38C


Sounds like a Right of Publicity valuation expert is needed in Michael Jackson IRS dispute

February 2, 2017 No Comments »
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Interesting Bloomberg article dated 2/1/17 covering the dispute over the valuation of Michael Jackson’s estate.  “The IRS claims Jackson’s should have been valued at $434 million. The estate claims that it was worth a mere $2,105.”  Sounds like a case for a Right of Publicity valuation expert.  Here’s a link to the Bloomberg article:   Bloomberg: Michael Jackson estate valuation


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