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Music NASA Space The Courts

Astronaut Sues Dido For Album Cover 264

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-me-off-that-thing dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Astronaut Bruce McCandless is suing Dido for her album cover that uses a famous NASA photograph of a tiny, tiny, tiny McCandless floating in space. McCandless doesn't own the copyright on the photo, so he's claiming it's a violation of his publicity rights ... except that he's so tiny in the photo, it's not like anyone's going to recognize him."
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Astronaut Sues Dido For Album Cover

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  • by cappp (1822388) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @09:50PM (#33819958)
    Well it seems he'd lose under his claim to Statutory Right of Publicity [findlaw.com]

    (a)Any person who knowingly uses another's name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness, in any manner, on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of, products, merchandise, goods or services, without such person's prior consent, or, in the case of a minor, the prior consent of his parent or legal guardian, shall be liable for any damages sustained by the person or persons injured as a result thereof.

    (1)A person shall be deemed to be readily identifiable from a photograph when one who views the photograph with the naked eye can reasonably determine that the person depicted in the photograph is the same person who is complaining of its unauthorized use.

    That being said, the entire area of Right of Privacy law is fascinating. I was reading through this website [rightofpublicity.com] and there's some really good meat there for discussion.

  • Re:Broken News... (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheoMurpse (729043) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @10:26PM (#33820266) Homepage

    "a singer you've never heard of"
    You've gotta be trolling. 21 million copies sold of her debut album, MTV Music awards, BRIT awards, Grammy nominated, #98 best selling of the 21st century, duet with Eminem, music featured in a big movie, song the opening theme of a US TV show, haircut named after her, sold-out world tours...

    I mean, I can only name like three or four of her songs from the early 2000s, but "a singer you've never heard of"?! Come on!

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @10:32PM (#33820304)

    Number of people who now know Bruce McCandless is an asshole: everyone who reads this story. If he wins the lawsuit, he'll still be an asshole.

  • by beav007 (746004) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @10:56PM (#33820412) Journal
    I believe that Bruce McCandless is arguing that Dido is using his image to promote her album (like an endorsement). It would be like Pepsi taking a picture of Tom Cruise on the street and putting his picture in their advertisements.

    I believe that the laws in the USA confer the right of the famous to control the use of their likeness in publicity for things that are not related to them or what they do, meaning that companies have to have a contract with the person before any endorsement or advertising can occur.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @11:56PM (#33820688)

    I believe that Bruce McCandless is arguing that Dido is using his image to promote her album (like an endorsement). It would be like Pepsi taking a picture of Tom Cruise on the street and putting his picture in their advertisements.

    I believe that the laws in the USA confer the right of the famous to control the use of their likeness in publicity for things that are not related to them or what they do, meaning that companies have to have a contract with the person before any endorsement or advertising can occur.

    Except Bruce McCandless isn't famous by any stretch of the imagination. Vaguely notable as a minor footnote in the history of human spaceflight? Yes. Hell, he might even warrant a short sentence if there was an article about the MMU.

  • Re:Broken News... (Score:4, Informative)

    by treeves (963993) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:27AM (#33821588) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, I love that part when she [youtube.com] sings her lament "When I am laid in earth", after Aeneas, following the Sorceress' evil scheme, sails from Carthage in the opera by Henry Purcell. Very moving music. Everyone should know that.
  • Re:Broken News... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Vectormatic (1759674) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @03:43AM (#33821960)

    Who the fuck is Eminem?

    Cantankerous old coot since 1957.

    A modern day "vanilla ice" or "Marky mark", if you will..

  • Re:Coming next (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pop69 (700500) <billy@@@benarty...co...uk> on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:35AM (#33822216) Homepage
    Just wait until the ancient Carthaginians get in on the act and start suing for people misusing their founders name.....
  • Re:Broken News... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kreigaffe (765218) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @07:01AM (#33822850)

    Are you forgetting that Robby Van Winkle also ventured into movies? Not just bit parts, either! Haven't you ever seen Cool As Ice?

  • Re:In Other News... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Ponyegg (866243) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @07:49AM (#33823238)
    http://www.worldofstock.com/closeups/SES1206.php [worldofstock.com] "If a NASA image includes an identifiable person, using the image for commercial purposes may infringe that person's right of privacy or publicity, and permission should be obtained from the person." I think the point being'identifiable person'... peviously little heard of astronaut in full space suit takin up 1% of screen... hardly identifiable, but no doubt there's some slavering lawyer willing to take this crap on.
  • Re:Broken News... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday October 07, 2010 @09:31AM (#33824410) Homepage Journal

    Who the fuck is Eminem?

    Some guy that "sings" without, somehow, using any notes. You know when you're asleep at 3:00AM and there's a BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! with your windows rattling and the sound of a car trunk vibrating from all the bass waking you up? That's some crackhead/methhead listening to him, or one of the thousand talentless hacks just like him, that the RIAA labels have convinced gullible young people is somehow "music".

    You've been an old coot since 1957? How old were you then, 50?

    My generation's music was reefer music (Zeppelin, Floyd, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Van Halen), today's music is crack cocaine music.

    You want me to get all these damned kids off your lawn, lady?

  • From nasa.gov (Score:3, Informative)

    by gsmalleus (886346) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @09:34AM (#33824442)
    This is off of NASA's website [nasa.gov]:

    As a government entity, NASA does not license the use of NASA materials or sign licensing agreements. The agency generally has no objection to the reproduction and use of these materials (audio transmissions and recordings; video transmissions and recording; or still and motion picture photography), subject to the following conditions:
    ...

    • NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted. If copyrighted, permission should be obtained from the copyright owner prior to use. If not copyrighted, NASA material may be reproduced and distributed without further permission from NASA.
    • If a recognizable person, or talent (e.g., an astronaut or a noted personality engaged to narrate a film) appears in NASA material, use for commercial purposes may infringe a right of privacy or publicity. Therefore, permission should be obtained from the recognizable person or talent. If the proposed use of the NASA material could be viewed as a commercial exploitation of that person. However, if the intended use of NASA material is primarily for communicative purposes, i.e., books, newspapers, and magazines reporting facts of historical significance (constitutionally protected media uses), then such uses will generally be considered not to infringe such personal rights.

    ...

    I don't know if the particular image is copyrighted, but clearly the person in photo is not recognizable. You could put any person in that space suit for that photo and not tell the difference.

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