Friday, August 16, 2013

Copyright Law - Ninth Circuit - KISS Rockstar Rights of Publicity Preempted?

Preemption, Control of Dissemination of Copyrightable Work, Right of Publicity

Cusano v. Klein, 473 Fed.Appx. 803 (9th Circuit May 8, 2012)(unpublished).   Member of rock band KISS sued rock band for disseminating still and video footage of his performances as a band member in violation of his right of publicity.  District court denied KISS’s motion to dismiss pursuant to California’s  anti-SLAPP statute.   On appeal, 9th Circuit reversed.  KISS’s performances are free speech and a matter of public interest.   Cusano’s right of publicity claims are preempted by the Copyright Act under Section 301 because he seeks to control the reproduction and dissemination of copyrightable work.   This case makes no sense to me since rights of publicity are not equivalent to copyrights, but the opinion is very brief and unhelpful.
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