Tuesday, June 19, 2007Home

A bill to protect the images of Monroe, Hendrix, etc.

In New York State, lawmakers are at work on a bill that will protect the image of deceased persons from unauthorized use for commercial purposes. This permission would come from the heirs of the person (read: deceased celebrity) in question. The bill has been supported by the families of Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, and Mickey Mantle.

From Photo District News:

The bill was introduced May 31 in the New York State Senate by Senator Marty Golden and in the State Assembly by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein. The bill remains in committee in both houses.

"The fact that unscrupulous quick buck artists can profiteer on a loophole in our law by selling insulting and degrading images of those who are deceased is shameful," Golden said in a statement this week. "New York law should protect those families and institutions that could be harmed by these identity predators."

I wonder what it says about me when I read something like this and my curiosity is peaked immediately. What was done by whom this time? Another curious thing is that the names mentioned above are among the most revered in American popular culture.

Also, 300th post!!! Woo!

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At 1:34 PM, Blogger Mark Bellinghaus said...

Congrats to your 300th post, but--it is not as simple as you put it in your post!
There is nobody from Marilyn Monroe's families at all.
The woman you refer to has never met Marilyn and never even sent one single flower to her grave.
Anna Strasberg is a greed ridden monster who is doing this ONLY to continue to fill up her hungry pockets!
She sold out the legacy of Marilyn Monroe before, and she will do it again--if she is let! Because right now Mark Roesler, the licensing lawyer and Anna Strasberg have no power over Marilyn Monroe at all--Marilyn is literally PUBLIC DOMAIN--and it should stay that way if there is any justice in this country.

Jimmy Hendrix has nothing to do with this, because Marilyn Monroe died many years before him and her Last Will was never ever executed the proper way.

If you are interested in reading more on this and if you may want to support the good side of this case--the photographers who won two lawsuits in this matter already, please click this link:


At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To most people, immortality is a metaphysical concept. In Hollywood, it's a business proposition.

A star who dies young like James Dean or Marilyn Monroe can enjoy a highly profitable afterlife-if they have a good agent.

As it happens, both Dean and Monroe have the same agent: CMG Worldwide, an Indianapolis firm that styles itself as "the premier company for representing the families and estates of deceased celebrities." CMG represents about 250 famous people, most of them dead.

Curiously, the celebrity supporters of California's SB771 are clients of CMG.

The fact of the matter is the recent decisions on Marilyn Monroe by the Federal Judges from the United States District Court for the Central District of California and the Southern District of New York are detailed and well-reasoned and they merely confirm and apply long standing probate, estate and publicity rights laws of the states of California, New York and Indiana.
CMG is now waging a campaign to circumvent the Shaw decision and the Greene decision by enlisting a host of both living celebrities and the heirs of deceased celebrities to support a bill that would radically alter California law.

MMLLC and CMG Worldwide have improperly made many tens of millions on Marilyn Monroe for decades.
The Honorable Margaret M. Morrow, judge in the Greene vs CMG case said "Marilyn Monroe did not own a post-mortem right of publicity when she died and any license fees extracted from third parties through threats of suit asserting such non-existent rights are not lawfully acquired by the estate.

The amendment is an improper private interest legislation which serves no public benefit and seeks to overturn rulings of the United States District Courts in California and New York which are not claimed to be error or improper in any way, nor effecting any injustice.

At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The California legislature is engaged in a sneak attack on photographers. Do you remember the really bad bill that the Creative Management Group and Marilyn Monroe LLC attempted to push through in NY last month? This time, it is happening in California.

Worse, this time they are trying to rush it through in stealth mode. They have convinced some members of the Assembly and CA Senator Kuehl to take an existing bill dealing with stem cell research, delete all of its contents, and substitute a retroactive right of publicity bill! The effect of this substitution is to avoid going through all of the normal, preliminary steps that would have been required if the bill had been introduced as a new bill, so that it can be enacted quickly and without notice to interested parties.

If enacted, this bill would make California’s right of publicity retroactive back to 1915, so that any celebrity who died a resident of California over the past almost-100 years would have a right of publicity that would pass automatically to his or her residuary beneficiaries. That means that, even if your use of a photo of a California celebrity was legal when you licensed it last year, that past usage may now suddenly become illegal, subjecting you to liability, damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. It would also mean that, even if you paid licensing fees in the past for using a dead celebrity’s photo, the people you should have paid may suddenly have changed retroactively, and you may now be subjected to additional licensing fees and liabilities!

The current bill, Senate Bill 771, is being rushed through the state legislature right now by Senator Sheila Kuehl. At this point, it is almost certain to have passed in the State Assembly. It is crucial that you act right away.

Please fax Senator George Runner - a sponsor of the bill.Fax: 916-445-4662

At 7:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bills have recently been introduced in both New York and California that would give a new "right of publicity" to the estates of dead celebrities — including those who died many years ago. If they pass, the laws could seriously harm any photographer who has old photographs, because they could invalidate old releases and contracts and could expose photographers (and their clients) to liability for using images in a way that was legal at the time.

This is special-interest lobbying at its worst. The proponents have tried to bypass the normal committee hearing processes, using bills with misleading titles and other parliamentary tricks.

At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Nick Hoskins said...

Judge Morrow, in California and Judge McMahon, in New York both ruled (and agreed) that because of the wording of her will, her rights of publicity ceased to exist at the time of her death and could not be transferred to heirs, beneficiaries or agents. This decision is simple and transparently clear.

Marilyn Monroe LLC and CMG, her agent are at huge risk of liability for asserting rights that they did not own. Certainly they will appeal, but the outcome is inescapable and foredoomed.

Now CMG and MMLLC are attempting avoid the decisions and amend the law. They are amending the 1984 statute in California, which currently allows rights of publicity for 50 years after the death of a celebrity. A particularly troubling aspect of the bill - one clearly designed to eviscerate the rulings - is that it would retroactively grant these publicity rights "to the deceased person before such person's death" and the rights would last in perpetuity.

This bill was introduced by California State Senators Sheila Kuehl and George Runner on February 23, 2007 for stem cell research standards. It had been amended and is now the "Celebrity Rights" bill. This places the bill at the head of the line.

Through Senator Keuhl, MMLLC and CMG are taking one more shot to try to reclaim what was never theirs to begin with. That is the Right of Publicity for Marilyn Monroe.Senate Bill 771 is a special favor to MMLLC that has no public benefit.

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Thom Burke, esq. said...

To Tom Gibbons -
What it means.
Judges have ruled in two separate court matters that MMLLC (and CMG, as agent) do not have the rights of publicity and never had those rights.
They have through the years asserted that they did, and forced businesses to pay fees - in this case, many millions. CMG is infamous in the industry for oppressive tactics.
Now that the legal matters have not favored MMLLC and they are on the losing end they are attempting to change the laws in their favor.
MMLLC and CMG are well connected. They simply enlist some clients and friends to back the change -and these are well known names- and give some quotes.
It isn't about truth.
It's about money.

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Mary anne den Bok, Esq. said...

SB771 is NOT a bill to protect celebrities' images - it is a bill to protect the rights of companies who EXPLOIT dead celbrities' images!
SB771, in addition to taking rights away from photographers, would also take rights to a dead celebrity's name and likeness away from their children, and give those rights to CMG, and similar companies. In a deposition taken four months before his death concerning rights to his name and likeness, Ray Charles made it very clear that he intended his children to have those rights. SB771 would re-write Ray Charles' will as well as the wills of many celebrities, including Marlon Brando . Ray Charles' children would lose their rights to their father's name and likeness, as would the children of Marlon Brando. Families of deceased photographers would lose all rights as well. Please email senator Kuehl at senator.kuehl@sen.ca.gov or her "policy consultant" on SB771, Tam Ma at tam.ma@sen.ca.gov and voice your opposition to sb771.
Mary Anne den Bok, Esq., on behalf of
P.S. It is misleading for CMG to claim that SB771 is sponsored by SAG. As a member of SAG, I know that NOTHING has been sent out to the membership by SAG re SB771, as is the norm with SAG supported political issues.

At 7:03 PM, Anonymous MWQ said...

The all-powerful CMG Worldwide working behind the scenes to keep from losing millions in profits for Anna Strasberg.
What it shows is that CMG has huge resources to "influence" the lawmakers.
Particularity ex-actor Senators.
CMG uses legal threats, intimidation and litigation to largely bully everyone.

In the business, they are well known for these tactics.


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