Outside Publication

Transformative Use and the Right of Publicity: A Relationship Ready for Revision, Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal, Volume 37, Number 2


A soccer mom can become a celebrity in a second. One YouTube clip can turn a freckled five-year-old into a famous figure overnight. And viral videos can transform horrible songs into hit singles. In the digital age, where even society's youngest members are connected by smartphones and social media services, fewer barriers to celebrity exist than ever before. Yet, while advances in technology make notoriety easier to attain, they simultaneously make it more difficult to maintain. With fame becoming increasingly fluid in today's instantaneous world, celebrities (many of whom are "famous for being famous") now aggressively guard their images and identities. In their efforts to protect their "right of publicity" against outside encroachment, however, celebrities often implicate another protected right: freedom of expression under the First Amendment.

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