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Brown v. Ames

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
201 F.3d 654 (2000)


Ames (defendant), doing business as Home Cooking Records, purported to license to Collectibles (defendant) master recordings of performances by Brown (plaintiff) and other song authors (plaintiffs), along with the right to use the plaintiffs’ likenesses and biographical information, to manufacture and distribute copies of the master recordings. Collectibles made and sold tapes, compact discs (CDs), and music catalogs with the authors’ names and likenesses. The plaintiffs sued Ames, Collectibles, and Collectibles’s owners, Jerry and Nina Greene (defendants) for copyright infringement and misappropriation of name or likeness under state law. Texas law makes it a tort to use a person’s name, image, or likeness without authorization to obtain some value or benefit other than the publication of news. After a jury trial, the defendants were found to have infringed some copyrights and misappropriated the names and likenesses of the plaintiffs. The defendants appealed the ruling regarding the state-law misappropriation claim, arguing that the Copyright Act preempts such laws.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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