Trusts & Estates Magazine: Review of Reviews: “Endorsing After Death,” 63 William & Mary Law Review 1531 (2022)

By Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Most of us are likely aware of some of the postmortem activities of our favorite deceased celebrities. In fact, as the author highlights, 2020 was a banner year for deceased celebrities. Whitney Houston promoted an international hologram tour; Tupac Shakur, Bob Marley, Bob Ross and Jimi Hendrix actively promoted branded COVID-19 face masks through their official Instagram pages; and Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali, Elvis Presley, The Notorious B.I.G., John Lennon and Kobe Bryant participated in #BlackoutTuesday in support of Black Lives Matter. Many legal professionals might also be aware of some of the legal issues surrounding these postmortem activities, including those rooted in state laws concerning the rights of publicity, who controls these rights and for how long.

However, this article doesn’t focus on and goes beyond the legal issues dealing with the right of publicity and instead addresses something that I never thought clearly about: the postmortem “right of endorsement,” which is grounded in federal trademark and unfair competition laws.

Read more here.

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