Monday, 14 December 2020 14:02

New York Governor Signs Bill Establishing Post-Mortem Publicity Rights

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Earlier this month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill establishing post-mortem "Rights of Publicity." This bill protects deceased individuals from commercial exploitation, or unauthorized use, of their well-known and recognized personal characteristics. This bill protects actors, singers, dancers, musical instrument players, and other performers who lived in New York when they passed away. Additionally, the estate of these individuals can also exercise these rights to protect the likeness of those deceased.1  

The right of publicity is an intellectual property right which protects against the misappropriation of a person’s name, likeness, or other indicia of personal identity, such as, nickname, voice, signature, photograph, likeness, for commercial advantage.2 While no federal statute or case law recognizes the right of publicity in the United States, a majority of states do recognize this right by statute or case law. For example, the state of Florida also recognizes a post-mortem right of publicity for a term of 40 years after death of an individual.3

1. S5959D /A.5605-C, This bill also created new penalities for publishing sexually explicit depictions o individuals, protecting people from revenge porn and "deep fakes" (synthetic media increasingly used in the digital age to create images of fake events).


3. Fla. Stat, § 540.08.

Read 97 times Last modified on Wednesday, 16 December 2020 22:21
Emily Mola

Ms. Mola earned her Bachelor’s degree in History, magna cum laude, from the Florida International University, and a Juris Doctor degree and Certificate in Intellectual Property Law from the Florida International University, College of Law. While at FIU Law, she served as the President of the Intellectual Property Student Association. As a result of her dedication to intellectual property law, she earned three CALI Excellence for the Future Awards in focused academic coursework. Ms. Mola is the recipient of the International Trademark Association’s 2020 Ladas Memorial Award for her article, Trademark Law’s Capability to Protect Traditional Cultural Expressions from Unauthorized Borrowing and Theft. Ms. Mola is a 2018 Microsoft/Hispanic National Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Legal Institute scholar.