Interesting communication law case in the New York Times. A relative of John Dillinger sued an Indiana museum over details about his bank robber kin:
Dillinger was accused of the Jan. 15, 1934, police killing, but he escaped and was killed later that year before he could be tried for the murder. Mr. Scalf, who has catalogued the names, events, locations and timeline of Dillinger’s life in remarkable detail, questions whether Dillinger had any role in the O’Malley killing, saying that “a wealth of evidence shows he couldn’t even have been in the state when it happened.”
Mr. Scalf focused his legal efforts against the museum on the “right of publicity,” which is recognized in Indiana and other states to protect a person’s image from being used commercially without permission. In many cases, often involving living celebrities, it is a simple concept: they do not want their image used to advertise a product without permission.
Some states offer the right posthumously for some limited period, too, and Indiana offers among the lengthiest recognitions of that right — 100 years after death (in Dillinger’s case, until 2034).
He won. The museum had to change the wording on its exhibits (adding “allegedly”) and will pay the relative $1500 per month until 2034.