Screen legend James Dean passed away 64 years ago, but a new CGI film called is about to feature Dean in a new starring role. To use Dean’s appearance in this way, the filmmakers needed to obtain the permission of Deans’ heirs because Dean passed away as a California resident.
In the state of California, heirs are granted the right of publicity for a deceased loved one, which includes the ability to control the commercial use of that person’s name, image, or likeness. If Dean had passed away in the state of New York, the filmmakers would have had a much easier time because New York law does not recognize such a right among heirs.
Advancements in CGI technology are currently pushing the boundaries of existing publicity laws throughout the country. This means that actors and celebrities, as well as anyone who has ever appeared dealt with publicity rights, must consider these issues when writing an estate plan. This article reviews some of the various considerations that you should have when it comes to handling publicity rights.