The Computer Law and Security Report, Vol. 24, No. 5, 2008
25 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2008 Last revised: 13 May 2014
Date Written: June 19, 2008
In the fall of 2007, a Federal appeals court ruled that the use of the names and records of Major League Baseball players without license or permission by an Internet fantasy sports website was protected speech and trumped the property rights of the players. The ruling in by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in CBC v. MLBAM marks the latest skirmish in the long-simmering tension between the scope of the so-called "Right of Publicity" and the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. This issue of where free speech ends and proprietary protection begins is the subject of a long line of cases - with conflicting rulings, different doctrinal approaches and a haphazard state-by-state approach. With the evolution of the Internet as a marketing and commerce tool, the economic implications of digital rights have increased the problem.
The paper would track the development of the right of publicity tort, discuss the leading cases and propose solutions.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Conrad, Mark A., The Right of Publicity in the Digital Age - Doctrinal Tensions, Common Law Theories and Proposals for Solutions (June 19, 2008). The Computer Law and Security Report, Vol. 24, No. 5, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1154044