Committee Reports

Report Opposing Legislation Establishing the Right of Publicity for Both Living and Deceased Individuals


The Communications and Media Law Committee and Art Law Committee issued a report opposing legislation which would provide for a post mortem “right of publicity” for 40 years after the death of an individual, allowing successors in interest to provide notice of such interest through a public registration and posting maintained by the New York Secretary of State. A “right of publicity” describes the “right” of individuals to control the use of their name and likenesses for commercial and other valuable purposes. A similar bill was opposed by the City Bar in 2010 and the Committees believe the present bill raises even further concerns, for both procedural and substantive reasons.  New York Civil Rights Law §§ 50 and 51 (which the bill seeks to amend) have always been strictly construed in New York, favoring the right to freely publish images of persons based on First Amendment principles and only restricting the publication in clear cases where the use of the personality’s image or likeness is for purposes of advertising or trade. The Committees believe that any amendments to this law should be made only for the most compelling reasons, which are not present in the pending legislation.


A.8155-A (AM Morelle) / S.5857-A (Sen. Savino) – establishes the right of publicity for both living and deceased individuals (NYS 2017)


Enacted as A.5605-D / S.5959-D, Chp. 304 – November 30, 2020