CORAL GABLES (LALATE EXCLUSIVE) – Who owns the legal rights to “Caylee Anthony”? Casey Anthony has yet to make a move to protect the copyrights, trademarks, name and likeness to her daughter Caylee Anthony. But could that now change? With Casey Anthony found not guilty in the murder of her daughter, she is not prohibited from making money on daughter Caylee. While a nation has focused on the millions that Casey Anthony will make from her own story, the real fortunes, however, might be made from use of Caylee Anthony’s name and likeness.
And yet, an exclusive investigation by LALATE has revealed that there has been few steps, if any, taken by the Anthony family to protect those rights. With a nation still asking for “Justice for Caylee”, the question remains whether injustice for Caylee is coming in the intellectual property arena.
Key intellectual property rights to a deceased child are at stake, and they simply are not be protected, LALATE has exclusively learned.
Who gets the intellectual property rights to Caylee Anthony? Who is seeking to obtain those rights? And who does the public think deserves those rights? The answers will shock you.
The marketing of deceased celebrities, or persons of notoriety, is a big business. The Elvis Presley estate in 2004 earned $45 million. That year, Lisa Marie Presley sold an eighty-five percent stake of Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. to businessman Robert F.X. Sillerman (SFK Entertainment) for $100 million. The stake included rights to Elvis’ name and image.
At the time, Elvis was the top earning deceased celebrity. That year, Forbes estimated that the earnings from deceased celebrities could still substantially balloon with expansion into European and Asian markets.
Caylee Anthony is certainly not Elvis; but she has become the most famous child in the United States this year. Her recognition, additionally, spans internationally. As a result, her name and likeness undoubtedly could bring in millions annually in earnings.
But has anyone in the Anthony Family – George, Cindy, Lee, or Casey – done anything to see to protect those rights? And how would they protect such rights?
First, copyrights should have been sought for Caylee Anthony pictures. Text copyrights could have been sought in any writings by Caylee, image copyrights for any sketches, and video copyrights for any home videos.
But an investigation by LALATE reveals no copyrights have been filed for anything Caylee Anthony or Casey Anthony related by the Anthony family. With the exception of a CBS Special (48 HOURS MYSTERY, “The Untold Story of Caylee Anthony”) and a Dr Phil Episode (707), no entity has sought copyright protection for anything from the Casey or Caylee Anthony library.
Second, a trademark can protect a mark across specific goods or services. As detailed on LALATE previously, Mark Lippman, counsel for George and Cindy Anthony, has sought protection for underwear, buttons and t-shirts for “Justice for Caylee” and t-shirts for “Caylee Anthony”. The application is based upon the representation of an “intent to use”, meaning that the applicant had not yet commenced commercial use.
But Casey Anthony has yet to file any trademark to protect her daughter’s name. Even if she hasn’t, there is an additional question.
Who should have the rights to “Caylee Anthony”? By virtue of law, it’s probably Casey Anthony. Presuming no other agreement, “If such person [Caylee Anthony] is deceased, any person, firm or corporation authorized in writing to license the commercial use of her or his name or likeness, or if no person, firm or corporation is so authorized, then by any one from among a class composed of her or his surviving spouse and surviving children.” Caylee’s rights would likely pass to Casey, not George or Cindy.
While Casey probably owns the rights to Caylee Anthony’s name and likeness, who does the public think deserves those rights? That question has yet to be answered. But a new poll found that 64% of Americans believe that Casey Anthony killed Caylee Anthony. A newly published USA Today/Gallup poll found “Women were more than twice as likely as men, 28 percent vs. 11 percent, to think Anthony definitely murdered 2-year-old Caylee. Twenty-seven percent of women said they were angry about the verdict, compared with 9 percent of men.”
Will Caylee ever seek to protect Caylee Anthony’s name and likeness in death? That remains to be seen.
Casey Anthony, Caylee Anthony