Astronaut Sues Dido For Using His Photo In Album Cover
from the ah,-publicity-rights dept
Ben alerts us to the news that astronaut Bruce McCandless is suing the musician Dido for her album cover on her 2008 album, "Safe Trip Home," which uses a NASA photo of McCandless in space:
Now, it's notable that McCandless is not claiming copyright over the image -- which is good, because he almost certainly doesn't own the copyright. Either the photographer who shot the image does or (more likely) the photo is owned by NASA which should make it public domain (though, potentially not). It appears that instead, McCandless is claiming a violation of his publicity rights, which we've noted has become all too popular a legal strategy these days. It's quickly getting up there in popularity as a "new form" of intellectual property -- and one that is perhaps even more questionable than patents and copyrights.
If this really is a publicity rights claim (and, if anyone has the actual filing, I'd love to see it, and post it here see update below), it's difficult to see how much of a claim he has. It's not as if he's identifiable in the image, or that anyone will see it and think: "Hey, I'll buy this album because I know astronaut Bruce McCandless endorsed it." That's ridiculous. Most people will have no idea who the astronaut is, nor will they even care. This seems like yet another blatant money grab, made possible due to the ever increasing (and dangerous) belief that we own "rights" to imaginary concepts.
Update: Thanks to all of you for sending me the filing. It's posted below, and it's pretty much what you'd expect. Standard publicity rights claim: