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Intellectual Property “Torts” (the law about civil infringements that lead to liability) Rights of Publicity Rights of Privacy Defamation.

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Presentation on theme: "Intellectual Property “Torts” (the law about civil infringements that lead to liability) Rights of Publicity Rights of Privacy Defamation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Intellectual Property “Torts” (the law about civil infringements that lead to liability) Rights of Publicity Rights of Privacy Defamation

2 No single law on any of the three areas of interest Amendments to the constitution (1st, 4th, 5th, 14th) are often invoked. Over half the states have laws, but they sometimes organize the three differently.

3 Warren and Brandeis, 1890 Samuel D. Warren and future Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote a Harvard Law Review article in which they argued that the Constitution, though never stating so directly, offers a “right to be left alone.” This and related ideas turned into the “right to privacy,” the “right to retreat from the world” –and in those days, the right to escape the excesses of yellow journalism.

4 Common Law Claims (that are then broken out among the three areas) Intrusion upon seclusion Public disclosure of private facts False light in the public eye Appropriation of name/likeness/etc.

5 Intrusion Upon Seclusion Unauthorized intrusion or prying into plaintiff’s seclusion; Intrusion offensive or objectionable to a reasonable person; Matter upon which intrusion occurs must be private; Intrusion causes anguish or suffering.

6 For example: “Google Street View Litigation Mania--Seven Class Action Lawsuits and Counting”Google Street View Litigation Mania--Seven Class Action Lawsuits and Counting Google to pay $7 million for privacy violation Chris Isidore March 13, 2013: 9:11 AM ET Google still faces a private lawsuit brought by several different parties over the privacy violation.private lawsuit It also faces other challenges to its privacy policies, most notably in Europe, where European Union authorities are preparing to take action against Google by the summer unless the company moves to allay concerns about privacy of user data.European Union authorities

7 Public Disclosure of Private Fact A liable to B for giving publicity to a matter concerning the private life of B, if the matter publicized is the kind that: Would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, and Is not of legitimate concern to the public

8 For example: “IMDB’s Disclosure of Actress’s Age Will Go To Trial – Hoang v. AmazonIMDB’s Disclosure of Actress’s Age Will Go To Trial – Hoang v. Amazon Wikipedia says: As of August 2013, the case is currently pending with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. [11] Hoang's opening brief is due September 30, 2013, and IMDb's and Amazon's answering brief(s) are due October 30, 2013, with any further reply from Hoang due 14 days after being served with the answering briefs. [12]Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals [11] [12]

9 Exceptions News, commentary, satire, critique, and some other forms of speech are protected when the information can be interpreted to be within the public’s right to know. News and information of public interest, even when about public figures with a lot at risk, is generally treated as outside the realm of protection under rights of publicity. Images of public buildings Images of people at news events Sometimes (and in some jurisdictions) “parodies” and/or “artistic renderings” of otherwise protected personae.

10 False Light in the Public Eye Publication of false fact to the public; Highly offensive to reasonable person; Causes damage to plaintiff.

11 For example: For example: “Courtney Love Digs Herself a HoleCourtney Love Digs Herself a Hole Over Social Media Rants Courtney Love has once again been sued for defamation for her rants on social media.This is the third time Love’s overactive mouth has been the subjectsocial media of a defamation lawsuit. Three years ago, fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir, aka “The Boudoir Queen,” accused Love of making false statements about her on TwitterTwitter and MySpace. The gist of the posts was that Simorangkir was a drug-pushing prostitute with a criminal history who had lost custody of her own child. Love settled that case in 2011 for $430,000. Soon after, Love tweeted that her lawyer, Rhonda Holmes, was “bought off.” Holmes then sued Love for defamation; that case is set for trial in January. Now, in a fresh lawsuit Simorangkir claims that Love has posted more lies about her, this time on Pinterest, and on the Howard Stern show on May 30.

12 Right of Publicity Defined “[T]he inherent right of every human being to control the commercial use of his or her identity.” –McCarthy, Right of Publicity, 2 nd Ed., 2005, Vol. 1, §1:3 Note that this right adheres regardless of the status of the person. However, since celebrities can usually leverage their personae for value, fussing over this right usually involves famous people.

13 Right of Publicity Defined PROTECTED ASPECTS OF PERSONA Name Likeness Distinctive Voice Style Role – If synonymous with actor Nicknames –“Crazy-Legs Hirsch” –“Here’s Johnny Porta-potties”

14 For example: Keller v. Electronic Arts Inc., USCA, Ninth Circuit, July 31, 2013 Click here to download a PDF of the full decision. Ninth Circuit affirms district court order denying motion to strike, under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, right-of-publicity claims asserted by former college football player, rejecting video game developer EA’s contention that use of the player’s physical characteristics and jersey numbers was, as a matter of law, transformative use protected by First Amendment. Electronic Arts Settles Athletes’ Suit, Cancels Game By Cliff Edwards & Karen Gullo - Sep 27, :33 PM CT Electronic Arts Inc. (EA)Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) agreed to pay $40 million to settle a lawsuit by former college athletes over use of their images in video games, after it canceled its college football title for next year because of legal issues.

15 Appropriation of Name or Likeness Name or likeness of plaintiff; Appropriated by defendant; For some advantage, usually commercial.

16 By Samuel Maull, Associated Press NEW YORK — 50 Cent has sued Taco Bell, claiming the fast- food restaurant chain is using his name without permission in advertising that asks him to call himself 99 Cent. The rapper says in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday that the Mexican- themed chain features him in a print ad asking him to change his name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent or 99 Cent. His real name is Curtis Jackson. The rapper's court papers say the ad is part of Taco Bell's "Why Pay More?" campaign, which promotes items for under a dollar, including Cinnamon Twists for 79 cents, Crunchy Tacos for 89 cents and Bean Burritos for 99 cents. The papers say the Irvine, Calif.-based company sent a bogus letter requesting the name change to the news media but not to the rapper. The rapper's lawyer, Peter D. Raymond, said his client didn't learn about the letter or that he was featured in the ad campaign until he saw a news report about it. Raymond said his client is seeking $4 million in damages. Taco Bell Corp. spokesman Rob Poetsch issued a statement saying: "We made a good faith, charitable offer to 50 Cent to change his name to either 79, 89 or 99 Cent for one day by rapping his order at a Taco Bell, and we would have been very pleased to make the $10,000 donation to the charity of his choice."

17 Illinois Right of Publicity Act 765 ILCS 1075/1 Effective as of Protects the right to control and to chose whether and how to use one’s individual identity for commercial purposes Requires written consent to use an individual’s identity for commercial purposes Continues for 50 years after death

18 Illinois Right of Publicity Act EXCEPTIONS: –Portray, describe or impersonate individual in live performance or other literary or artistic manner; Note that this one allows impersonations that are protected in other jurisdictions. –Non-commercial use (news, public affairs, sports broadcast, political campaign); –Identifying individual truthfully as author of work or program or performer; –Promotional materials for the above-referenced; –Professional photographers who display work at their shops (unless otherwise notified of objection).

19 Note that when you get a pix done by a photographer, they control the copyright and can display the work virtually anywhere, without additional permission. You are, in effect, their model with the equivalent of a signed release, unless you constrain them with paperwork. Paying them does not make their work a work for hire and thereby give you the copyright. If you want to limit publication/re-use, you must constrain them by specific contractual language/agreements.

20 Tort Liability in New Media

21 Content is King – But it can get you in trouble. New media allows users and publishers to interact and share content. But, who is legally responsible and for what content?

22 Where Can You Find User Generated Content (UGC)? UGC has been around for a long time. –Examples: Pillsbury Bake-Off contests, op-ed page of newspaper, etc. But, new media UGC is widely disseminated in various media outlets and does not typically receive editorial review.

23 What Tort Liability Can Publishers Face With User Generated Content? Defamation Obscenity Right of Publicity/Right of Privacy Infliction of Emotional Distress Civil Rights (e.g., Fair Housing Law)

24 What Protections Exist to Shield Internet Publishers From Tort Liability? Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) –“No provider or user of an interactive computer service (ICS) shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1).

25 What Protections Exist to Shield Publishers From Liability? (cont’d) Section 230 encourages (but does not require) websites to filter or review submissions. “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected…” 47 U.S.C. § 230 (c)(2).

26 Often, charges are dismissed due to protections afforded publishers, (see below), but sometimes, costly litigation has preceded application of the protection. For example: Website Initially Denied 230 Dismissal But Gets It on Appeal--Shiamili v. Real Estate Group”Website Initially Denied 230 Dismissal But Gets It on Appeal--Shiamili v. Real Estate Group Here a “rouge” district judge finds for plaintiff, then the circuit appeal overrules on 230 grounds.

27 Exceptions/When Liability May Apply: –No immunity for violation of federal criminal laws, –Intellectual property violations, –Right of publicity claims (in some jurisdictions), and –Applicability of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 or similar state laws. What Protections Exist to Shield Publishers From Liability? (cont’d)


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