January 8, 2001
TIGER WOODS LOSES TRADEMARK AND RIGHT OF PUBLICITY ACTION AGAINST ARTIST WHO CREATED LIMITED EDITION POSTER DEPICTING HIM
Rick Rush, a sports artist, created a print featuring renowned golfer Tiger Woods. Woods licensing agent, ETW Corp., brought suit to stop distribution of this print.
The court found that ETW had failed to show that it had any trademark rights to the image of Tiger Woods since his image was not used as a mark. While a specific image or photo of a person can function as a trademark if it is consistently used to identify a source of product, this does not mean that any of a variety of different images of a person will each be given protection as a trademark. The court also dismissed the action for violation of right of publicity under Ohio law stating that the artist’s expression was constitutionally protected under the First Amendment.
CHANGES IN EMPLOYMENT OF MINORS
Minor and their parents planning a career in show biz should be aware of some recent changes in California law. As of Jan. 1, 2000, money must be set aside in a blocked account for all children working in the entertainment industry. This includes musicians, actors and those working in non-union productions. In the past this requirement only applied to court-approved contracts. SAG's website contains useful information including the SAG/AFTRA Young Performers Handbook (http://www.sag.org/youngpersons.html). Parents can have their questions answered by calling the SAG Child Actor Hotline.