SBD/Issue 236/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Father Of Murder Victim Seeks O.J.’s Right Of Publicity

O.J. Simpson Involved In Legal
Fight Over Publicity Rights
Attorney Jonathan Polak has filed a petition in California Superior Court in an attempt to place Ronald Goldman’s father, Fred, “in charge of any attempts to make money off of [O.J.] Simpson’s name, image, voice or likeness,” according to Erika Smith of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The petition, “believed to be the first of its kind,” comes as Simpson has yet to pay the $33.5M a civil jury ordered him to pay in ‘97 for the deaths of Goldman and Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. But Simpson’s attorney, Yale Galanter, said, “We’ve not been able to find a single case that allowed a court to award involuntarily the right of publicity. I don’t think there’s any legal basis for this.” Galanter said Simpson “does make some money from autographs and speaking engagements, but it’s nowhere near” $33.5M. Smith notes putting Goldman in charge of Simpson’s right of publicity “will take away his ability to make money spoofing the murders.” For example, “he won’t be able to make a reality TV show, as rumored in the media, or get a paycheck for signing autographs at a trade show for fans of murder trials.” Also, the company making a TV show or running a trade show involving Simpson “would have to negotiate a deal with Goldman, not Simpson. That could be a deterrent.” Intellectual property consultant Karl Manders said that if Simpson can “no longer make money, he’ll no longer want to do such things” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 9/6).

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