This legal update about photographing celebrities just came in through PACA.

California Appeals Court dismisses publicity claims of celebrities brought against Corbis.

This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissals of two right of publicity claims against Corbis Corp—Shirley Jones v. Corbis Corp.and Alberghetti v. Corbis Corp.  PACAs amicus briefs in both cases were accepted.   In the Jones case, the Ninth Circuit held that Shirley Jones, star of the TV show “The Partridge Family,” had given her implicit consent to having her likeness used in photographs when she attended highly-public red-carpet events.  The Ninth Circuit noted that Corbis operated within the well-known and established industry customs in relying on Ms. Jones implied consent to the photographs’ distribution.  In the Alberghetti case, the Ninth Circuit held that the two-year statute of limitations on right of publicity claims in California had expired before the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit.  In both cases, the Ninth Circuit declined to rule on the arguments that the right of publicity claims were preempted by the Copyright Act.  Additionally, the Ninth Circuit awarded Corbis’ attorneys’ fees in both cases.

Hopefully these decisions will deter similar claims against the stock photo industry.

Hallelujah to that. This is one of the dirty little secrets of our industry where celebrities want to get paid every time an image of them appears somewhere. Sometimes the payments are donated to charity but often they pocket it. If  we had a ruling against red-carpet photographers we would be facing yet another blow to our industry.  We have to fight for our rights that seem to be getting more limited every day.

On a personal level this type of celebrity greed and control is a definite turn-off. When you make that kind of money and participate in a highly publicized profession exposure comes with it. There has to be a better way to deal with it.

What do you think? Let me know.

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