Question

At the time of the events described below, California's statute dealing with a deceased celebrity's right of publicity read as follows: "Any person who uses a deceased personality's name, voice, signature, photograph, and likeness, in any manner, on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of products, merchandise, goods, or services, without prior consent from [the legal owner of the deceased personality's right of publicity shall be liable" to the right of publicity owner. The statute also set forth exemptions from the consent requirement for uses in news, public affairs, or sports broadcasts; in plays, books, magazines, newspapers, musical compositions, or film, television, or radio programs; or in other works of political or news-related value. There was also an exemption for "single and original works of fine art." Comedy III Production, Inc., owns the rights of publicity of the deceased celebrities who, through their comedy act and films, had become familiar to the public as "The Three Stooges." Relying on the statute quoted above, Comedy III brought a right of publicity action against artist Gary Saderup and the corporation of which he was a principal. Without Comedy III's consent, the defendants (referred to here collectively as "Saderup") had produced and profited from the sale of lithographs and T-shirts bearing a depiction of The Three Stooges. The depiction had been reproduced from Saderup's charcoal drawing, which featured an accurate and easily recognizable image of the Stooges. The trial court awarded damages to Comedy III after concluding that Saderup had violated the right of publicity statute and that neither the exemptions set forth in statute nor the First Amendment furnished a defense.
When the California Court of Appeals affirmed, Saderup appealed to the Supreme Court of California. Were the lower courts correct in ruling in favor of Comedy III?



$1.99
Sales1
Views149
Comments0
  • CreatedJuly 16, 2014
  • Files Included
Post your question
5000