Support Protection of Publicity Rights

A. 7843 Morelle /S. 5196 DeFrancisco


A. 7843 Morelle /S. 5196 DeFrancisco

The New York State AFL-CIO, representing 2.5 million union workers and their families as well as our retirees and their families, supports the above-referenced legislation.

This legislation would prevent commercial exploitation of deceased individuals by providing their estate a seventy-year property interest in his or her persona (name, image, likeness, voice or other indicia).  As such, their persona could only be used in connection with selling or endorsing products or other commercial activity if approved by their estate.  The legislation is narrowly drafted so that the property interest only limits commercial uses as to avoid conflict with others’ First Amendment rights, so that works of art, literary, political, news works, musical compositions and film television productions are generally exempted from limitation.

This bill prohibits the unauthorized use of a deceased artist’s life’s work for the commercial gain of other interests, whether corporate or individual.  The bill would ensure the ownership and associated rights of such individual’s life’s work would be distributed pursuant to the decedent’s will or statutory rules governing intestate succession, like any other property of the estate.  This will prevent, what is in essence, the piracy of an artist’s talent.

Therefore, this Federation urges this bill be passed.

For further information, contact the Legislative Department at 518-436-8516.

Memo #36 A7843/S5196 Right of Publicity