Judge spanks Mugshots.com hard for charging for photo removal

12 10 2017

Websites that publish mug shots and charge for their removal have defeated one lawsuit after the other, claiming First Amendment protection. But that defense to this shady industry may be about to burst. That’s because a federal judge, ruling on a lawsuit by several arrestees suing Mughshots.com, just approved a novel class-action. It’s one that takes legal advantage of the site’s practice of displaying advertising links to paid removal services that the lawsuit claims are owned by Mugshots.com.

US District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman of Chicago didn’t go so far as to say this vile practice amounted to extortion, as alleged. Instead, she ruled (PDF) that this likely amounted to a violation of the arrestees’ right of publicity because the site was using the mug shots as actual advertisements for the paid removal service.

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The content in this post was found at https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/09/mugshot-website-must-face-class-action-for-charging-to-remove-photos/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Two articles on the business of Right of Publicity

12 06 2017

Two informative articles have issued in the last week, on the heels of the 2017 Licensing Show.  Both are informative and include input from industry leaders.

Forbes:   Forbes Business of Deceased Icons

and Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/592fa717e4b00afe556b0b27

Delebrities

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The content in this post was found at http://rightofpublicity.com/two-articles-on-the-business-of-right-of-publicity and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



President Trump and the Right of Publicity of a political figure

25 02 2017

FEB. 13, 2017

Mother Jones

No one has entered the White House with a greater sense of self-worth than Donald Trump. The president considers his personal brand to be one of his biggest assets—valued at $3.3 billion, in his own estimation. (Forbes, which has spent yearsreporting how Trump inflates his net worth, says the actual value is intangible.) Trump and his companies have registered hundreds of trademarks with his name in them, from The Donald to The Trump Follies. Never in American history has there been a president more concerned with controlling his image, not simply as a matter of personal pride, but as a matter of preserving his bottom line.

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The content in this post was found at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/02/trump-name-publicity-rights and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Avvo’s Attorney Profile Pages Don’t Violate Publicity Rights–Vrdolyak v. Avvo

7 02 2017

Publicity right laws often prohibit the use of third parties’ names (or other aspects of their personalities) “for commercial purposes.” So what’s a “commercial purpose”? Fuck if I know. We might make the term coextensive with the Constitutional law definition of “commercial speech,” but that provides precisely zero help because there are multiple inconsistent definitions of that term too. Because no one really knows the commerciality borders for publicity rights (or any other) laws, defendants sometimes struggle to get quick courtroom wins in publicity rights cases, even when they publish obviously editorial content.

Against this backdrop, Avvo scored a nifty early victory in a case challenging its attorney profiles. Avvo creates the profiles without consent from the profiled attorneys, and then displays advertising on the profiles and uses them to upsell Avvo memberships.

Case citation: Vrdolyak v. Avvo, Inc., No. 1:16-cv-02833 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 12, 2016). The initial complaint (Bernstein v. Avvo).

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2016/09/avvos-attorney-profile-pages-dont-violate-publicity-rights-vrdolyak-v-avvo.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Adding Derogatory Caption to Photo Meme Can Be False Light–S.E. v. Chmerkovskiy

7 02 2017

S.E. has Down Syndrome. The complaint alleges that in 2008, S.E. attended a baseball game (at the age of 8) in Nashville and was photographed standing outside the stadium near a concession stand. The photographer posted the photo to his Twitter account with the caption “everything that’s wrong with America.” The photo became a meme. In 2014, it was posted to CBS News’ website. A few years later (in 2016), Valentin Chmerkovisky (the “Dancing with the Stars” pro) posted the meme to his Facebook page with the following caption:

Letting your kid become obese should be considered child abuse.

The photo has been viewed by many of Chmerkovskiy’s “quarter million” followers on Facebook. Chmerkovskiy later posted the following statement:

I’m truly sorry for the lack of sensitivity . . . but one some level I have to agree . . . You’re handicapping your kid, and they’re defenseless. They don’t know better, that’s why you’re there . . . anyway I’m just a childless preacher, but here’s some food for thought. #nopunintended.

While unclear, it appears he posted this statement after S.E.’s mom complained to him and asked him to take down the photo.

Case citation: SE v. Chmerkovskiy, 2016 US Dist LEXIS 159471 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 17, 2016)

 

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2016/11/adding-derogatory-caption-to-photo-meme-can-be-false-light-s-e-v-chmerkovskiy.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.