Buyers of Michael Jackson’s Assets from a Storage Locker Auction Can’t Set Up Paywalled Tribute Website–Branca v. Mann

17 09 2012

[Post by Jake McGowan]

Branca v. Mann, CV 11-00584 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 10, 2012)

When a celebrity goes bankrupt or forgets to pay a bill for his/her physical-space storage locker, opportunists may swoop in and purchase the goods so they can try and turn a profit reselling them. But sometimes, these buyers get a little overzealous–they convince themselves that their interest in the tangible property gives them an interest in some of the celebrity’s underlying intellectual property rights. This leads to poorly designed pay-for-access websites with risqué names like “”

A district court in California heard one of these storage locker disputes in Branca v. Mann, where the defendants set up a pay-for-access website relating to the late Michael Jackson. The court lowered the boom on August 10th, granting summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs for a long list of claims including copyright infringement, false designation of origin, misappropriation of likeness, cybersquatting, and so on.


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