Death + Popular Culture Death + the Law Death + the Web

Poor Dead Steve Jobs May Not Own His Dead Image

Who Owns Your Image After You Die?
On the Media (January 13, 2012)

Here’s a really interesting radio story by WNYC’s On the Media about what happens to an individual’s image after he or she dies. A Chinese toy manufacturer wants to create a Steve Jobs action figure. Apple successfully blocked a similar product in 2010 but may not be so lucky now that Jobs is deceased–with his “personality rights” with him.

steve1Add these concerns to the long list of postmortem digital media ownership rights. It also turns out that each state across America has different laws for handling these situations. The main interviewee for the story, Jeff Roberts, does a good job explaining how the state-by-state laws work.

Keep an eye on this story. As more and more of everything shifts to a digital format then the very idea of an “owned image” will be challenged.

Indeed, it’s a situation Steve Jobs helped create.

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