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Hicks v. Casablanca Records

464 F. Supp. 426 (1978)

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Hicks v. Casablanca Records

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

464 F. Supp. 426 (1978)

Facts

Agatha Christie was a famous writer of mystery novels. Many of Christie’s books were turned into movies and television series with her permission or with that of her estate. In 1976, after Christie’s death, Casablanca Records (defendant) began filming a movie called Agatha, based on a book by the same title, about an actual event in Christie’s life, without any consent. The movie presented a fictional account of a time in Christie’s life, 50 years earlier, when she disappeared for 11 days. When Christie reappeared, she did not disclose where she had been or what her activities were during that period. The movie being filmed represented that during the 11-day period, Christie became unstable and hatched an evil plot to murder her husband’s lover in order to regain his affection. Christie’s daughter, Rosalind Hicks (plaintiff), learned of the project and filed suit on her mother’s behalf, alleging her mother’s right of publicity had been violated.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pierce, J.)

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