The Intellectual Property Lawyers Organisation (TIPLO) hosts its spring [if you can call it that, mutters Merpel] event on Tuesday 26 March – "Leveson and its consequences". This promises to be a thought-provoking and critical view of the recent Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press and its implications, including
- the proposed press regulatory body with considerable enforcement powers.
- a proposed inquisitorial arbitration service for privacy and defamation claims against the press.
- power to award exemplary damages.
- amendments to data protection law and the powers of the Information Commissioner.
Writing on behalf of Prospect, the union that represents patent examiners in the United Kingdom, Eleanor Wade refers to the continuing discontent of Intellectual Property Office (IPO) staff over the deleterious and demoralising effect of government pay policy (see earlier Katpost here). Eleanor now tells the Kat that since, u
"We do regret any inconvenience caused to our customers by this action. However we feel that we have been left with no choice, since we believe that if the situation on pay is not resolved the impact on the IPO's ability to deliver for its customers will be much greater. We remain hopeful that a way of funding a fair and sustainable pay system from IPOs funds can be found".
"I’ve noticed that the reader comments appended to the Deadline article (here) highlight a profound confusion among the public as to the application of rights of publicity. In particular, numerous opinions state that if M. Avedon owns the copyright in the photograph, Mr Avedon is the required approver of its use in Mad Men.
However, astute Kat readers were quick to point out in the comments to Eleonora’s post that Ms May’s claims will be decided on the basis of state law regarding rights of publicity, rather than US Federal law. States have developed their own laws regarding rights of publicity and privacy, and, in fact, many states (22 out of 50) have no such laws at all.
One Kat reader asked:
“[I]f someone has consented to (and presumably been paid for) being photographed for an advert, it seems unlikely that additional use of that photo could be described as an "invasion of common law rights of privacy".Such an analysis might very well be correct under the laws of states that protect only the right of privacy. Those laws generally do not protect public figures who are newsworthy, have chosen to enter public life, or have otherwise consented to a certain level of publicity. However, states that protect an individual’s right of publicity also give that individual control over how his or her name, image/likeness or voice is used commercially. In some states, the right of publicity only extends to public figures and celebrities, and in other states the right is given to all individuals (because the right of publicity is born from the right of privacy).
That western bastion of sunshine known as the State of California, home to Los Angeles and all of its Hollywood star and starlet residents, does indeed have right of publicity protections codified in its Celebrity Rights Act. In the case of Ms May, I do wonder if the 9th Circuit’s recent opinion in the Jersey Boys case, reported by Ben Challis in the 1709 Blog here, will ultimately weaken her case. In particular, the producers of Man Men did not necessarily seek to “capitalize” on Ms May’s fame, but instead sought to draw viewers into the style of the 1950s and 1960s by flashing a number of advertising images from that time period, including the Revlon ad in which Ms May modelled her Satin Set hairdo. On the other hand, copyright infringement is quite different in nature from the highly personal claim of infringement of the right of publicity; Ms May might succeed because of the public interest in protecting an individual’s control over how her image is presented in connection with commercial ventures".