ERIC Number: ED228687
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Five Years of Right of Publicity: The Aftermath of "Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard."
The right of publicity is based on an individual's right to be free from the appropriation of his or her name or likeness by another for the other's financial benefit. As the courts' conception of the right of publicity was exapnding, so was the development of newsworthiness as a defense for media defendants. In "Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard," a case dealing with a human cannonball's entire performance being shown on a television news show against his express wishes, the Supreme Court ruled that Zacchini's act was protected under a right of publicity. Critics of the decision predicted chilling effects on future news coverage. Since that decision, courts have faced right of publicity cases with several elements--descendibility (property rights that descend to heirs), literary considerations, unfair competition, commercial purposes, harm to reputation, and consent--closely intertwined. Because these cases involve a delicate balancing process beween the media's right to inform the public about newsworthy people and the celebrity's right to enjoy the fruits of his or her own labors, restriction on freedom of expression has occurred and may continue to do so. Applying guidelines based on copyright's fair-use doctrine may be the best way to deal with these issues. (JL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Freedom of Information Center, Columbia, MO.