She Belongs to the Public: Court Rules that Marilyn Monroe Estate has no Rights of Publicity
Background: For the past 50 years—since Monroe’s death in August 1962—Monroe’s Estate (and its successor, Monroe, LLC) has been asserting that it inherited Monroe’s right of publicity, claiming to own Monroe’s images, voice, likeness and biographical information—rights that were worth $27 million in 2011.
New York or California? 該繼承人主張其擁有瑪麗蓮夢露知名氣權，準據法究竟係依紐約州法抑或是加州法？ Rights of publicity vary from state to state: though most states recognize the right during a person’s lifetime, only a few states extend those protections after death. 美國各州對知名度之保護，採取不同的保護強度，雖然大多數的州承認人於其生存其間可主張知名度，僅有少不分的州承認死後名人權。Though in California individuals have a posthumous publicity right, which can be bequeathed, in New York, the right of publicity is extinguished at death. 在加州承認死後名人權，有可被繼承人所繼承，但在紐約知名度在人死後即消滅。Monroe died at a house she owned in Brentwood, California, though she also maintained her prior residence in New York City. 瑪麗蓮夢露於其加州Brentwood自宅內死亡，雖然其住所設在紐約Thus, the issue before the court was clear: if Monroe was a California resident at her death, the Monroe Estate would have inherited control of her name and likeness; if she was a New York resident, those rights would have expired when Monroe died.所以，於訴訟時爭點非常明確，假如瑪麗蓮夢露死時，是加州居民，其繼承人人可繼承並得支配其姓名與樣貌，假使她是紐約居民，上開權利於其死亡時即消滅。（待續）