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Determining the best choice of law principle for right of publicity claims, and persuading courts to adopt this principle, will enhance predictability for potential plaintiffs and defendants in the foreseeable future. To begin this process, this article by Professor Mary LaFrance takes a critical look at the widespread practice of applying the law of the celebrity's domicile to determine the existence of an enforceable right of publicity.

This article suggests that there are strong policy arguments against the domicile rule, and that courts adhering to the rule are confusing disputes over property ownership with disputes over liability for tortious injury to property. Part I examines the handful of state statutes addressing choice of law for right of publicity claims. Part II examines some of the most significant case law, including cases that have applied the law of the domicile as well as cases adopting other approaches. Part III offers a policy critique of the domicile rule. Part IV concludes that there are strong policy arguments for rejecting the domicile rule, even in the case of postmortem rights.

Publication Citation

37 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 1 (2019).