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Louisiana’s Right of Publicity Legislation

June 08, 2022

Prof. Jennifer E. Rothman is “disappointed that yet another state has created a transferable right in a person’s own identity without addressing the troubling repercussions of doing so.”

Jennifer E. Rothman, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law, recently published “Louisiana’s Allen Toussaint Legacy Act Heads to Governor’s Desk” at Rothman’s Roadmap to the Right of Publicity, an online resource that provides a comprehensive analysis of state right of publicity laws and commentary on recent cases and legislation. 

The following is an excerpt:

After several years of trying, the Allen Toussaint Legacy Act has now passed both chambers of the Louisiana legislature and was sent yesterday to the Governor for signature. The Act, SB426, is named after the famed New Orleans musician, songwriter, and producer, Allen Toussaint who died in 2015. The proposed law provides individuals with a “property right of identity.”

The Basics

If signed into law, the proposed addition to the Louisiana Revised Statutes would provide “every individual” “a property right in connection with the use of that individual’s identity for commercial purposes.” This law provides a cause of action against the “misappropriation of identity” if a use of a person’s identity is without consent and for “commercial purpose in Louisiana.” The bill defines “identity” as encompassing a person’s “name, voice, signature, photograph, image, likeness, or digital replica.”

A digital replica is defined as a “computer-generated or electronic reproduction of a professional performer’s likeness or voice that is so realistic as to be indistinguishable from the actual likeness or voice of the professional performer.” Excluded from the definition of digital replicas are the “making or duplication of another recording that consists entirely of an independent fixation of other sounds, even though the sounds imitate or simulate the voice of a professional performer.” This exclusion borrows from language in the Copyright Act and is important to limit clashes with copyright law which expressly limits the scope of rights in sound recordings to allow for such sound-alike recordings… .

Rothman is nationally recognized for her scholarship in the field of intellectual property law. She is the leading expert on the right of publicity, and is frequently sought after to consult on legislation, high-profile litigation, and the development of creative projects. Rothman holds a secondary appointment at the Annenberg School for Communication and is an elected member of the American Law Institute and an adviser on the Restatement of the Law (Third) of Torts: Defamation and Privacy.

Read the entire piece at Rothman’s Roadmap to the Right of Publicity.