Category Archives: right of publicity

Is "following" on Twitter endorsement?

If William Shatner is right, does Twitter have a false endorsement/right of publicity problem when it puts sponsored accounts into celebrities’ “following” lists, even with a disclaimer?  Does Twitter’s ToS do enough to insulate it from such claims?  Via … Continue reading

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Rogers applies when film is simply named for character

Valencia v. Universal City Studios LLC, No. 1:14–CV–00528, 2014 WL 7240526 (N.D. Ga. Dec. 18, 2014)   Valencia, professionally known as Honey Rockwell, sued Universal for invasions of privacy; fraud, false advertising, and unfair competition; and trademark dilution.   Valencia … Continue reading

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Soul survivor: publicity and TM claims against recorded performance fail

Cummings v. Soul Train Holdings LLC, 2014 WL 7008952, No. 14 Civ. 36 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 12, 2014) This right of publicity/trademark case based on use of recorded performances to which the plaintiff didn’t own the copyright could’ve gone a lot … Continue reading

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B&N almost entirely off the hook for copying backpack design

Rubio v. Barnes & Noble, Inc., 2014 WL 6769150, No. 14–CV–6561 (S.D.N.Y Nov. 11, 2014) Rubio sued her alma mater, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and Barnes & Noble, Inc. for copying her original drawing of a backpack, producing … Continue reading

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unauthorized photo use doesn’t create false advertising claim for photo owners

Avalos v. IAC/Interactive Corp., No. 13-CV-8351 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 30, 2014) Meltech, a web design and modeling company, sued defendants for allegedly unauthorized use of photos of models in fake online dating profiles on dating sites (e.g.,,, and  … Continue reading

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Might of publicity?

Using Michelle Obama’s arms to sell training services: Want Michelle Obama’s Arms? Or Better?! training flyer H/T and photo by Zach Schrag.

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NFL Films protected by First Amendment against players’ right of publicity claims

Dryer v. National Football League, No. 09-2182 (D. Minn. Oct. 10, 2014) There are two alternatives when it comes to the right of publicity, it seems to me.  Either we will limp along with a special rule for video games … Continue reading

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