Friday, May 24, 2019

New York Introduces Revised Right of Publicity Bill

Jennifer Rothman on New York’s ongoing and confusing attempt to update its current right of privacy law,

Although filled with many good intentions, there were clearly many cooks in the kitchen, which has led to a complicated, confusing, and at times seemingly contradictory new version of the bill. It is certainly the most difficult statute or bill to parse that I have ever encountered on the right of publicity. The proposed statutory language raises so many questions about what it would do, that I can’t help but wonder what would happen if it passed in its current form. I suspect the litigation just to figure out what it means would take decades to work its way through the courts.


Ai Weiwei in court battle with Volkswagen

Major corporation allegedly taking from artist. Artist doesn’t like it. “Such corporate bullying plunders the fruit of others’ labor, intimidates individuals attempting to enforce their rights, and shows contempt for humanitarian and ethical behavior,” Ai Weiwei wrote.

More here.


What will Jeff Koons say?

Jeff Koons will testify under oath in a lawsuit over the non-delivery of an $8-million sculpture.


Some notes on site-specificity

The Paper of Record:

Taking a flexible approach to site-specificity is essential to making rent and entering museum collections. But this strategy has more than pure practicality on its side, some artists say. Even the most seemingly unmovable pieces can benefit from a change of scenery.

More here.


Update on defamation lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime

Lawsuit belongs in New York; defendants argue former Alabama judge signed consent agreement.

More here.


Congress considers copyright small-claims

On May 1, 2019 Congress introduced the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019 (“CASE Act”), proposing to address small copyright enforcement issues. For background on copyright small claims, see the Office’s Copyright Small Claims report here.


U.S. Copyright Office issues report on moral rights

From the report, some surprises, some odd analysis, and some “what the hell is right of publicity doing in here?” moments. Regardless, and given our state of the union, we don’t think any of these proposed amendments or bills would pass muster in the next thirty to forty years. An entertaining read nonetheless.

The first proposed change would clarify that VARA’s exclusion for “commercial art” is limited to artworks both created pursuant to a contract and intended for commercial use. The second proposed change would add language clarifying how courts should interpret the“recognized stature” requirement, requiring courts to consult a broad range of sources. The third proposed change would provide that no joint author could waive another joint author’s moral rights under VARA without the written consent of each affected author.

Right of Publicity. Congress may also wish to consider adoption of a federal right of publicity law as a means to reduce the uncertainty and ambiguity created by the diversity of state right of publicity laws. A federal right of publicity law, rather than preempting state laws, could serve as a floor for minimum protections for an individual’s name, signature, image, and voice against commercial exploitation during their lifetime. Any such law, if adopted,should include an exception for First Amendment-protected activities and may require significantly more government analysis since this was not the sole focus of the current review.

A synopsis is available here. The entire 172-page report is available here.


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