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May 4, 2007

Marilyn Monroe’s Right of Publicity [1:34 pm]

Judge: Monroe right of publicity ended at death - pdf

A New York federal judge has ruled that Marilyn Monroe’s right of publicity died when she did in 1962, paving the way for family members of the late photographer Sam Shaw to continue selling and licensing images of the icon, including the photo of her standing above a subway gate [sic].

[...] In her ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon found that at the time of her death in 1962, Monroe did not have any postmortem rights of publicity under the law of any relevant state, including California, where she died, and New York, which was purportedly her legal residence, though that is under dispute.

California began recognizing descendible publicity rights in 1984; New York limits its statutory publicity rights to living persons.

“As a result, any publicity rights she enjoyed during her lifetime were extinguished at her death by operation of law,” McMahon wrote. “Nevertheless, (Marilyn Monroe Llc.) argues that her will should be construed as devising postmortem publicity rights that were later conferred on Ms. Monroe by statute. Such a construction is untenable.”

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“Whack-a-Mole” Continues [8:49 am]

Playble.com as the latest game by Pirate Bay [via Digital Music News]

Paying Artists for Free Music

The Pirate Bay has started a unique collaboration with the members of the Swedish rock band Lamont and their manager Kristopher S. Wilbur. After lengthy discussions about the future of the record industry and its implications for the many talented artists and songwriters around the world, we discovered that we held the same vision. The shared insight that the record industry—with its current business model—is outdated inspired the birth of Playble.com.

This innovative music site will allow users to download music by artists for free and still support them financially. Playble.com will give companies with strong brands the opportunity to support music and artists directly. Welcome to Playble.com.

From the Digital Music News article:

The Bay, a nemesis to major content owners, is highly unlikely to gain the blessing of studios and labels. But given the incredibly antagonistic relationship between the camps, and the irreverence of the Pirate Bay, it is equally unlikely that licensing holdups will delay the launch.

Playble is the latest wrinkle in an ongoing crusade by the Pirate Bay to facilitate the free distribution and acquisition of media. [....]

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CYA, Administration-Style [8:40 am]

Part of the ongoing effort to ensure that the real culprits and their abuses are never revealed — immunity for their (coerced) corporate accessories. After all, if you can’t start at the point of injury, you can’t get standing to pursue legal remedies: Bush Wants Phone Firms Immune to Privacy Suitspdf

The Bush administration is urging Congress to pass a law that would halt dozens of lawsuits charging phone companies with invading ordinary citizens’ privacy through a post-Sept. 11 warrantless surveillance program.

The measure is part of a legislative package drafted by the Justice Department to relax provisions in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that restrict the administration’s ability to intercept electronic communications in the United States. If passed, the proposed changes would forestall efforts to compel disclosure of the program’s details through Congress or the court system.

The legislative package got floated at the hearing cited in this post: “Security” … At The Expense Of Essentially Everything?

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Premieres Aren’t What They Used To Be [6:34 am]

Although, as the article indicates, the real probems are at least as much within the distribution industry as they are with the viewing public: Spider-Man 3 vanquishes bootleggerspdf

The Paris premiere for “Spider-Man 3″ was a hot-ticket blowout. Stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst were on hand for the late April screening, as were throngs of paparazzi. Once the movie began, the real fireworks started when Sony Pictures security guards spotted a premiere guest secretly recording the movie.

Even though the guest said that only one scene was taped, Sony wasn’t taking any chances. With actions that included urging some Canadian theaters to patrol their “Spider-Man” auditoriums with night-vision goggles and splitting up film cans sent to theaters in piracy havens such as China, Russia, Poland and Hungary, Sony launched an especially aggressive campaign to keep its expensive sequel off the black market ahead of the film’s worldwide release this week.

Sony’s multimillion-dollar security plan seems to have worked. Although the studio admits that bootleg copies of “Spider-Man 3″ could be available for sale and download as early as this weekend, the studio appears to have blocked the release of any illegal copies before the film landed in theaters. [...]

In part because unlawful versions were unavailable, “Spider-Man 3″ has broken a number of overseas box-office marks, topping single-day records held by the first two Peter Parker films. “No question about it, no question about it,” that the anti-piracy campaign augmented overseas ticket receipts, said Jeff Blake, Sony’s head of worldwide marketing and distribution.

[...] Sony’s anti-piracy efforts on “Spider-Man 3″ had four main prongs. First, the studio confiscated camera phones and patrolled theaters showing early screenings of the film (in addition to Paris, guards escorted someone out of the Madrid premiere for illicitly taping the film). Second, the studio encouraged some theaters in Canada — where as much as 40% of the world’s camcorded bootlegs originate — to add guards to showings. Third, it patrolled file transfer websites where pirated movies usually land. And finally, Sony refused to send single shipments of entire “Spider-Man 3″ film prints to theaters in a number of countries, instead breaking up the deliveries across several shipments.

“That way, no one has an entire print until opening day,” Blake said.

The idea behind split-reel delivery is to make sure that pirates have no access to a complete film at any step in shipping — including freight trucks and customs offices. Entire prints can be copied on a film scanner, or Telecine, yielding a nearly pristine copy.

And who takes seriously the claim that first week box office really has anything to do with the availability of illegal bootlegs?

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