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June 21, 2010

PIONEERING THE 'RIGHT TO PUBLICITY'

 

By Greg Hazley

CBS News' "60 Minutes" on June 20 profiled Mark Roesler, the Indianapolis-based attorney who pioneered the "right to publicity" for dead celebrities and essentially created a multibillion-dollar industry marketing the images and other trademarks of deceased actors, singers and other noted figures.

The law firm/agency has created websites for many deceased stars to revitalize and maintain fan bases (15M hits a day go through its sites), and Roesler has successfully lobbied state legislatures to keep rights in or close to the families of the dead.

CBS' Steve Kroft: The right to publicity -- I don't remember reading that in the Bill of Rights. Where does that come from?

Roesler: We have the right to prevent our name, our likeness, our image, our signature, our voice from being used in some commercial fashion.


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