Apr 272014
 
 April 27, 2014  Posted by  Court

I’ve occasionally blogged about whether people can tell their own story if it might reveal private details of their family members or friends – and what rights those parties have.

Eric Goldman has an interesting blog post on one of these types of cases.

Today’s family feud involves a mom, Lois Reynolds, and her three kids, sisters Sylvia and Robin and brother Doug. Mom died in January 2011. A few months before mom’s death, sister Robin wrote about end-of-life issues and published the article in a (now-defunct?) online publication Phoenix Woman. I thought the article provided fairly straightforward observations about caregiving to the elderly, but siblings Sylvia and Doug were “shocked, hurt and deeply angry” about the article. Sylvia had a lawyer send Robin a demand that Robin:

refrain from making any ‘[p]ublication actually or reasonably perceived to be about or relating to Lois (including without limitation Lois’s name, likeness and description…).’

(Please re-read that demand again. Say what???). Undeterred, on Mother’s Day 2011, Robin “posted a blog tribute to Lois that included a photograph of herself with her mother.” In response, the estate listed, as one of its assets, a legal claim against Robin for violations of mom’s publicity rights, which Robin challenged in the estate proceedings.

Read about the court case on Technology & Marketing Law Blog.

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