The nature of the publicity right Copyright? – No; license to song here (owner of composition – “synch” license) Trademark/unfair competition – TM, no: no “secondary meaning” in voice here
“We hold only that when a distinctive voice of a professional singer is widely known and is deliberately imitated to sell a product, the sellers have appropriated what is not theirs and have committed a tort in California...” IPNTA 5 th at 1025
Overview: Rt of Publicity 15 States: common law protection 16 States: protected by statute California: both!
Assignable and Descendable Rights Eg, Cal Civ Code 3344 Life plus 70 year term for rt of publicity Fully assignable: 33414.1(b)
Cal Civ code 3344 (d) For purposes of this section, a use of a name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness in connection with any news, public affairs, or sports broadcast or account, or any political campaign, shall not constitute a use for which consent is required under subdivision (a). IPNTA 5 th at 1022
Panel Majority Holding District court reversed: Samsung infringed Vanna White’s right of publicity under cases such as Midler v. Ford Motor Expansion from photo to voice to other “likeness” such as this reference in the ad
Kozinski dissent Too much property is a real concern – Residential land analogy “Overprotection stifles the very creatives forces it’s supposed to nurture.”
Cal Civil Code 3344(a) Did Samsung use White’s “likeness”? Kozinski says no...
Majority California law protects any manifestation of “identity,” anything that “evokes” her personality Kozinski: idea/expression dichotomy proves that “stealing” something of value is not in and of itself wrong...
What is the downside to a robust right of publicity? Loss of “balance” Undermining federal scheme Preemption issues...
Kozinski dissent The majority isn’t, in fact, preventing the ‘‘evisceration’’ of Vanna White’s existing rights; it’s creating a new and much broader property right, a right unknown in California law. It’s replacing the existing balance between the interests of the celebrity and those of the public by a different balance, one substantially more favorable to the celebrity. – IPNTA 5 th at 1029
Kozinski points Lack of balance No explicit parody defense No first amendment analysis
Why it matters For better or worse, we are the Court of Appeals for the Hollywood Circuit. Millions of people toil in the shadow of the law we make, and much of their livelihood is made possible by the existence of intellectual property rights. – IPNTA 5 th at 1033
Big Picture But reducing too much to private property can be bad medicine. Private land, for instance, is far more useful if separated from other private land by public streets, roads and highways. Public parks, utility rights-of-way and sewers reduce the amount of land in private hands, but vastly enhance the value of the property that remains. – IPNTA 5 th at 1027
A Property Rights View Private parcels Public Street
Growing sophistication/development of rt of publicity Markets for right of publicity Defenses to actions Descendability/enforcement
Moe Howard was born on June 19, 1897, in Bensonhurst, New York, a small Jewish community on the outskirts of Brooklyn. Moe's real name was Moses Horwitz. Moe's mother's name was Jennie Horwitz, and his father was clothing cutter Solomon Horwitz. Curly Howard's real name was Jerome Lester Horwitz. He was born to Jenny and Solomon Horwitz on October 22, 1903, the fifth and youngest of the five Horwitz brothers. Larry Fine was born Louis Fienberg on October 5, 1902 on the south side of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father, Joseph Fienberg, and mother Fanny Lieberman, owned a watch repair and jewelry shop.
Gary Saderup wants his audience to "see into the hearts" of his subjects. If you look into the eyes of his works, you can see just that. At age five, Gary began art lessons and continued his drawing throughout childhood. Building on his multifaceted abilities, he majored in illustration and film while attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Advertising v. Expressive Works Advertising is “commercial speech,” subject to lower level of protection than other speech, including expressive works Supreme Court caselaw
Cal Civil Code 3344.1 “Name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness” “on or in products, [or for] advertising... Products” Holder of rights: sub. B – by will or contract; (d) by statutory descent
Duration: 70 years after death Note “class voting” rules
Moe and Larry died in 1975, Curly in 1952 What is the remaining term of protection in California?
"Saderup's lithographic prints of The Three Stooges are themselves tangible personal property, consisting of paper and ink, made as products to be sold and displayed on walls like similar graphic art."
If all graphic art is the relevant "product," then any reproduced likeness of the celebrity is prima facie infringing Must look for a statutory or First Amendment defense
Defamation Public figures vs. “ordinary people” Gertz v. Welch Actual malice/reckless disregard for truth
Prior restraint Injunctions in 1 st Amendment cases Heavily disfavored – National security, one of the few exceptions
Primary distinctions Andy Warhol's silk-screen prints of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley: okay under the “transformative” test But Saderup’s prints are not – Justification?
IPNTA 5 th at 1047 Saderup argues that it would be incongruous and unjust to protect parodies and other distortions of celebrity figures but not wholesome, reverential portraits of such celebrities.
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Madow article 81 Cal. L. Rev. 125 Users/consumers of mass culture need to be able to appropriate images of famous people; to “make them their own” so as to participate in and comment on society and culture
What about the creators’ rights? The 3 actors “fashioned personae collectively known as” the Three Stooges “Through their talent and labor” they became a TM, a standard, a well-known “trope”
IP Rights and the development of talents Right of publicity recognizes effort over time to develop a “persona” Also, a persona is very close to a person’s identity; for some theorists (eg Kant and Hegel) this is a strong reason to grant property rights Effort helps prove we “deserve” rewards