Factors Etc., Inc. v. Pro Arts, Inc.

652 F.2d 278 (1981)

From our private database of 46,100+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

Factors Etc., Inc. v. Pro Arts, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
652 F.2d 278 (1981)

Facts

Elvis Presley, a world-famous singer and performer, incorporated Boxcar Enterprises, Inc. (Boxcar) in Tennessee, where he was domiciled. Presley assigned the rights to his name and likeness to Boxcar. Presley died on August 16, 1977, and on August 18, 1977, Boxcar granted an exclusive license to Factors Etc., Inc. (Factors) (plaintiff), a Delaware corporation, to manufacture products bearing Presley’s name and likeness. The licensing agreement, reached in Tennessee, was in effect through February 1979. On August 19, 1977, Pro Arts, Inc. (defendant), an Ohio corporation, published and marketed a poster of a photograph of Presley. One point of sale was within the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, where Factors brought suit under diversity jurisdiction. Factors sought a preliminary injunction preventing Pro Arts from manufacturing, selling, or distributing the poster and from making commercial use of Presley’s name or likeness. The district court granted the preliminary injunction, and Pro Arts appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed. Meanwhile, in Memphis Development Foundation v. Factors, Etc., Inc., 441 F. Supp. 1323 (1977), the Sixth Circuit, which included Tennessee, addressed whether Tennessee recognized that the right of publicity survived death. Tennessee courts had not previously addressed the issue, and the Sixth Circuit had no guidance in reaching its holding that under Tennessee law, Presley’s right of publicity did not survive his death. Afterwards, in Factor’s litigation with Pro Arts in the Southern District of New York, Factors moved for summary judgment. Pro Arts argued that the Sixth Circuit’s ruling estopped Factors from asserting the right of publicity after Presley’s death. The district court found that New York State substantive law applied because the court had diversity jurisdiction and thus the law of the forum state applied. The court granted Factors’ motion and permanently enjoined Pro Arts from using Presley’s name or likeness. Pro Arts appealed, arguing that the court should apply the substantive law of Tennessee, where Presley was domiciled, Boxcar was incorporated, and the licensing agreement between Boxcar and Factors was reached. Factors argued that the applicable substantive law was that of New York State because the wrongful conduct occurred there.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Newman, J.)

Dissent (Mansfield, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 745,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 745,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 46,100 briefs, keyed to 987 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 745,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 46,100 briefs - keyed to 987 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership