The “Right of Publicity” is in the news again, this time in regards to the high-profile “image and likeness” asset of Michael Jackson. One of the issues at hand is the valuation of the Estate of Michael Jackson’s rights to the intellectual property related to Michael Jackson’s image and likeness. This issue of intangible value has developed over the years with respect to other well-known individuals such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, where marketing rights to the decedants’ estates continue long after their passing.

As you can imagine, valuing such an asset can be a difficult endeavor, wrought with assumptions and speculation. While this article does not provide a solution to the issues facing the court in the Michael Jackson case, it does provide a look into publicity rights, along with a discussion of the landmark Estate of Virginia C. Andrews v. United States, 850 F. Supp. 1279 (E.D. Va 1994) (the Andrews case) and the methodologies utilized in the appraisal of the intangible assets that are typically seen in the estates of literary authors.

Right of Publicity

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