DMLA recently joined many stakeholders in an urgent last minute push to oppose an amendment to New York State’s right of privacy statute, converting it to a right of publicity (Assembly Bill A08155 and Senate 5857-A) that would have granted a broad and ambiguous descendible right of publicity to anyone for 40 years after death, regardless of whether the person was domiciled in New York.
The media was particularly concerned as it looked like this bill had potential to pass before the end of the legislative session last week and the language would have had a severe impact on many forms of expressive speech, including the display and sale of prints and the licensing of photographs, video and other forms of visual art. DMLA prepared a memorandum in opposition and together with many law professors, media associations and individual companies (such as Getty Images and Shutterstock) signed on to full page advertisement published in the Albany newspaper urging the legislature to reject the bill as an attack on the First Amendment DMLA, and member Getty Images joined the lobbying efforts of the New York New Publishers Association and hired their lobbyist to work on this slowing down this bill. Last Tuesday Nancy Wolff, joined by Terry Byford and Eric Rachlis of Getty Images, joined other stakeholders at the State House in Albany New York to ask the legislature to slow the bill down right and get it right so it won’t hurt photographers, image library, and the media companies, many of whom are in New York, who use their services.
In the end the legislature in both houses did not bring the bill to the floor to vote before the end of session last week but its sponsors made it clear that they want to work with stakeholders to create an acceptable descendible right of publicity bill to be voted on in the near future.
Our thanks to Getty Images for hiring a lobbyist to work on this legislation in New York which permitted DMLA to be represented by a lobbyist as well. If any other members would be able to contribute to this lobbying effort and share the costs, please contact Nancy Wolff for further information.
DMLA plans to continue to be involved in any legislation that deprives a photographers or film owner’s right to display their property and copyright interest in their still and motion images.