Albert Einstein loses publicity rights
By Andrew Hudson Published: October 24, 2012 Updated: July 9, 2016
Albert Einstein has been earning money even though he died 57 years ago. Impressive? Yes. Legal? Hmm.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which claims to control the rights of Albert Einstein, has been lucratively licensing the genius’ image since he died in 1955. When General Motors refused to pay up, a lawsuit was filed, a move that has now backfired. The court ruled that the right of publicity in New Jersey is no more than 50 years after death which means that, in Einstein’s case, it has expired. Thus, Albert Einstein is now in the public domain. This is no doubt good news for Baby Einstein.
“[Albert Einstein’s] persona should be freely available to those who seek to appropriate it as part of their own expression, even in tasteless ads.”
— Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem v. Gen. Motors LLC, 2012