Some Like It Hot – But Others Do Not!

Last fall, a California court held that CMG, assignee of rights under Marilyn Monroe’s estate to exploit her image and likeness, had no rights because at the time of her death, there were no laws in either California or New York recognizing rights of publicity. Enter California’s legislature—amending its law to retroactively enact rights of publicity (See Legal Bytes, October 2007) to “remedy” this unfortunate state of affairs. Whoops. Not so fast. A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has just ruled Marilyn Monroe was a New York resident at the time of her death in 1962, and pulled the plug on the recently amended California Right of Publicity law.