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Fishers company loses Marilyn Monroe court appeal

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CMG Worldwide, an intellectual property licensing firm in Fishers, has lost a federal court appeal related to ownership of iconic images of Marilyn Monroe.

The appeal stems from a decision in March 2008 by a federal judge in California, who determined that CMG and client Marilyn Monroe LLC didn’t own rights of publicity in that state because the famous actress didn’t reside in that jurisdiction at the time of her death in 1962.

The two had sued photography studios in California and Oregon in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, claiming they were violating copyrights by using Monroe’s image.

The case was transferred to a federal court in California and consolidated with a similar suit involving another photographer.

Marilyn Monroe and CMG appealed, and the appeals court on Thursday affirmed the earlier decision.

In their ruling, the judges said: “We observe that the lengthy dispute over the exploitation of Marilyn Monroe’s persona has ended in exactly the way that Monroe herself predicted more that fifty years ago: ‘I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.’”

Monroe licensing fees typically raked in more than $30 million annually prior to 2008, with CMG pocketing about a quarter of that amount.

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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