University Sues GM For Using Einstein In An Ad Without Paying Up

from the theory-of-relative-insanity dept

Steve R. was the first of a bunch of you to send in the news that Hebrew University is suing GM for using Albert Einstein's likeness in an ad. A separate article notes that Einstein "is among the world's top-earning dead people" because so many people have to pay to license his image. Apparently Einstein, when he died, left his papers to the university, who is now cashing in. Nice to know that celebrating genius has a price, huh? Copyright is supposed to be about furthering the advancement of science, and here it's being used to profit off the memory of a great scientist. Update: There's a good discussion in the comments on the details of this, as it was not at all clear who owned what rights and what was being sued over in the original news articles. But folks have turned up the details, which involve publicity rights -- a still emerging area of intellectual property law that differs greatly from state to state.

Filed Under: copyright, einstein, publicity rights
Companies: hebrew university

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  1. icon
    Robin16 (profile), 27 May 2010 @ 2:19pm

    Sorry, you have it all wrong. Einstein's estate overseen by Hebrew University prohibits the use of his image for commercial use.

    See the link to Corvis? I called them after speaking to Mr. Anderson at that link, this is who holds the photos

    But the estate which is controlled by Hebrew University PROHIBITS photos of him that greenlight holds for commercial use.

    GM used Leo Burnett advertising agency. GM stated that Leo Burnett worked with a well known stock photo holder.

    If the photo used by GM was NOT part of those held by Hebrew University then the suit goes PLUNK. There are photos out there which are not part of the estate.

    If it was a greenlight photo used, then the suit goes forward because again, commercial use of those photos is forbidden

    ESVA provides photos of Einstein and other images for non-commercial use only. Follow this link for more information about our use policies.

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