The American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property magazine, Landslide, recently published a new article co-written by Prof. Brad Desnoyer. The article was featured as the magazine’s cover story and explores intellectual property issues — such as copyright, trademark and the right of publicity — disputed in cases involving comic books and through the lens of comic book characters.
Prof. Desnoyer’s piece discusses courts’ disparate application of the right of publicity, which protects a person’s identity from unauthorized commercial appropriation, and critiques New York courts that have failed to protect celebrity personas.
“Lady Gaga should take notice,” wrote Prof. Desnoyer. “Indeed Lady Gaga, aka Stefani Germanotta, is nearly a comic book character. . . . It may be strongly argued that Lady Gaga, Ziggy Stardust, KISS and more are mere fictitious costumed characters — accorded no more protection than Spider-Man. Although all have cultivated celebrity through the use of unique personas, they are vulnerable to misinterpreted law and defective policy.”