Louisiana House Bill 415

Summary  

Louisiana HB 415 would create a right of publicity for the life of a person plus 50 years. The right applies to a person’s “identity,” which is defined as their name, voice, signature, photograph, image, likeness, or any distinct appearance, gesture, or mannerism.

The bill as introduced included a narrow exemption for non-commercial uses that did not include the full range of media and types of non-commercial speech. The bill is named for Allen Toussaint, the legendary New Orleans musician.

The bill was amended in the House to broaden the exemption for non-commercial speech modeled on the language used in Arkansas’ right of publicity law that was enacted in 2016.

Status

The bill died when the legislature adjourned without taking final action. The House which had earlier passed the bill with amendments, failed to concur on the amendments made to the bill by the Senate.

Analysis

Media Coalition argued that the original version of the bill should be amended to broaden the exemption for non-commercial use of a person’s identity. The broad exemption language is necessary to discourage frivolous claims, while preserving individuals’ right to prevent the unauthorized use of their names and likenesses in advertising (other than for an expressive work) or on merchandise.

History

  • The bill was introduced [1] on March 31, 2017, and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.
  • Amendments were introduced on May 12, 2017, and referred to the Legislative Bureau.
  • On May 21, Media Coalition sent a memo[2] to the Louisiana Legislature.
  • On June 5, 2017, Senate floor amendments adopted, bill passed and ordered returned to House for concurrence.
  • On June 7, 2017, House failed to concur, thus the bill died.