Thursday, October 18, 2012

Einstein now in public domain

A lawsuit against use of this image was filed in 2010:
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you can’t simply use a celebrity’s image without authorization – even if that superstar was, indeed, a scientist who has been dead for more than half a century.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has filed suit against General Motors accusing the automaker of making fraudulent use of the image of Albert Einstein. ...

Though Einstein was not known as a particularly material man, his likeness has proved a gold mine for the school, which reportedly earned $10 million on the rights to the likeness of the author of the theory of relativity, last year.

According to Forbes magazine, Einstein ranks ninth on the list of the Top 10 dead celebrities when it comes to annual earnings, just behind Dr. Seuss, at $15 million, but ahead of widely-publisher author Michael Crichton, at $9 million.
The university must regret the lawsuit now, because it lost the case and all publicity rights:
But if it doesn’t die with the person, how long does it last? Some states define this by statute, but New Jersey has no such statute; the right of publicity in New Jersey is a common-law, judge-made right (as it originally was in most states). ...

Life plus 50 years, the court said, so GM wins (since Einstein died in 1955, and the ad ran in 2009).
So Einstein is now in the public domain. So my use of his name and image on the cover of my book is safe.

1 comment:

  1. Hi I just found this page via Google.. Is is also correct to think that Quotes by Einstein are also in the Public Domain?.. I am also checking this with another friend but from what I have read tonight I assume everything for this man is Public now?..

    Many thanks