GoDaddy customer reviews : Good idea to sign up for GoDaddy?? Are there legal issues with not-so-recently deceased people?

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I've done some searching and could not find any answers. I'm looking to see if there are any trademark/legal issues with not-so-recently deceased people. As in the last 100 years or so. for example:.

Comments (7)

There could be if the trademark rights are owned by someone... say a recording label for instance...or passed on to a relative or some such. Not too sure about others tho.....

Comment #1

That's a great list to kick around, for a couple of reasons.

Public figures and entertainers have different standing with respect to right of publicity claims which, yes, can be passed on. Some celebrities have earned much more dead than alive. That's particularly true of, say, Buddy Holly, but also true of such merchandising powerhouses as Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.

Come to think of it, there are still quite a few more tour dates for Zappa Plays Zappa (, and if anyone is in the Wilmington, Delaware area on the 30th, you can have my wife's ticket, since I can't persuade her to go with me. I wouldn't miss it for the world, though.

But, anyway, there was a pertinent lawsuit a while back brought by Arnold Schwarzenegger against people selling bobble head dolls. To the extent the dolls were trading on his image as governor of California, that's fine - as a politician, he does not have a claim to a right of publicity in it. However, to the extent the dolls were trading on his image as the Terminator, then that is an impermissible use of his reputation in connection with his goods and services as an entertainer.

So, right there, William Taft and John Pershing are historical public figures which you can fairly use for a variety of things.

On the other end of the scale would be Shoeless Joe Jackson, James Dean, Billie Holiday. James Dean is still probably worth a fortune in ongoing revenue in particular.

Scientific and literary figures are a crapshoot. The Tolkein estate is positively rabid:

It turns out that for most run-of-the-mill dead celebrities, there is one licensing agency which seems to be their favorite. Compare the outcome in:.

(complaint denied).



That's right - same domain, same respondent, two different outcomes.

Same thing happened with the two cases at WIPO.

Here are some more NAF cases, since CMG Worldwide is something of a frequent flier there:.


CMG Worldwide, Inc. v James Dean Internet Club.



CMG Worldwide, Inc. v Alessandro Bottai.



CMG Worldwide, Inc. v Eric Dluhos.



CMG Worldwide, Inc. v Naughtya Page.



CMG Worldwide, Inc. v Steve Gregory.



CMG Worldwide, Inc. v Lombardi.



CMG Worldwide, Inc. v Bonnie Masterson.

Claim Denied.

You'll also notice in these, that CMG Worldwide wasn't the complainant, but the attorney was Lawrence Molnar, who, I swear, attracts dead clients like no lawyer I know. If you are famous, and dead, then he's the man you want to talk to:.


Unitas Management Corp. v Noreserve Inc..



Anna Nicole Smith v DNS Research, Inc..

Claim Denied.


Kendra Wilkinson v Kendra Wilkinson.



The Estate of Dorothy Dandridge v Dick Lobin.


Check out this guy's client list:

Now, interestingly, he includes General George S. Patton. IMHO, Pershing was a better general and the movie version of "Patton" was accurate insofar as, yes the man was a nutcase but, no, it did not make him a better military leader or strategist. If you're willing to tolerate unacceptably high losses for the sake of being a prima donna against a less well-equipped enemy then, yes, you too can be a "hero"...

Comment #2

Excellent info jb... so a good rule of thumb would be, historical, usually ok, entertainers, best left alone?..

Comment #3

As a starting point, yes. But someone will come along and say, "But, wait, isn't Walt Disney a 'historical figure'?" In one sense, we are all destined to be merely historical figures.....

Comment #4

True... but many people don't become "famous" until after they pass away, sometimes long after, and I personally would define historical and famous differently.

"Famous" people are well known before they die, such as Walt Disney (although not always - some people become famous after passing and leave no rights to anyone), but he also left a company with his name on it, and they have full rights to it, whereas someone like, say Martin Luther, is a Historical figure as he has long been ... dusted... and no entity (that I'm aware of at least) can claim rights to his name.

It would be interesting to see where a court would draw the line, but I think that is a pretty reasonable place to draw it...

Comment #5

Appreciate the insight and loads of references jberryhill. Thanks!..

Comment #6

If you ever need a load of anything, I'm your guy...

Comment #7

This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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