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China Toys Apple Idle Technology

Apple Threatens Steve Jobs Doll Maker With Lawsuit 314

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-doll-for-you dept.
redletterdave writes "Apple has allegedly threatened to sue Chinese company 'In Icons' over its eerily realistic 12-inch action figure of Steve Jobs, the company's late founder and CEO. The 1:6 scale model, which was said to be distributed by DiD Corp. in late February, comes with the clothes and accessories popularized by Jobs, such as the black faux turtleneck, blue jeans and sneakers. The figurine is packaged in a box that looks like Walter Isaacson's 'Steve Jobs' biography cover, and also comes with a 'One More Thing...' backdrop, as well as two red apples, including one with a bite in it. To make it extra creepy, the doll's realistic head sculpt features Jobs' famous unblinking stare. Apple reportedly wrote 'In Icons', telling the Chinese manufacturer that any toy that resembles Apple's logo or products, or Job's name or appearance, is a 'criminal offense.' Attorneys believe a Steve Jobs action figure released after his death violates the 'right of publicity,' which is a state law that protects one's image, voice, photograph, identity or signature from being used commercially without consent. Furthermore, California's Celebrity Rights Act in 1985 protects a celebrity's personality rights up to 70 years after their death."
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Apple Threatens Steve Jobs Doll Maker With Lawsuit

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  • Re:California (Score:3, Informative)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:33PM (#38606300) Homepage Journal

    I don't see where California law is in any way binding or enforceable for a product unless they tried to sell it in California. Just because it is illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket in Alabama doesn't mean I can't do it in Michigan.

    You're absolutely right... including that "unless" clause. The dolls are being offered for sale in California via their website, so the state law applies to those transactions.

  • by jesseck (942036) on Friday January 06, 2012 @12:01AM (#38606496)

    Who the f*** grants rights to "personality"?

    Steve Jobs did. Hell, he / his company sued at least "likeness doll" maker while he was alive... that set the precedent.

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Friday January 06, 2012 @12:02AM (#38606498) Homepage Journal

    It wasn't the doll as much as the "Nuclear Medicine" Playset complete with "Mr. Chemo" microwave oven that put them off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 06, 2012 @01:35AM (#38606926)

    From the article:

    While Apple's copyright infringement claims are questionable, attorneys believe a Steve Jobs action figure released after his death violates the "right of publicity," which is a state law that protects one's image, voice, photograph, identity or signature from being used commercially without consent. Furthermore, California's Celebrity Rights Act in 1985 protects a celebrity's personality rights up to 70 years after their death.

    "[Jobs's estate] has every right to enforce this," said Lawrence Townsend, an attorney with IP firm Owen, Wickersham and Erickson, based in San Francisco. "I expect there will be a lawsuit to follow."

    Currently, there is no successor-in-interest claim for Steve Jobs in California's special filing registry. However, a claim for "Steve Jobs" or "Steven Paul Jobs" can be filed and registered at any time by Jobs's estate.

  • by CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) on Friday January 06, 2012 @05:51AM (#38607858) Journal

    Who the f*** grants rights to "personality"?

    The law. ""Personality rights" is a common or casual reference to the proper term of art "Right of Publicity". The Right of Publicity can be defined simply as the right of an individual to control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness or other unequivocal aspects of one's identity. It is generally considered a property right as opposed to a personal right, and as such, the validity of the Right of Publicity can survive the death of the individual (to varying degrees depending on the jurisdiction). In the United States, the Right of Publicity is a state law-based right, as opposed to federal, and recognition of the right can vary from state to state." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_rights [wikipedia.org]

  • by CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) on Friday January 06, 2012 @05:53AM (#38607870) Journal
    People's Republic of China In the People's Republic of China, rights of personality are established by statute. According to article 99 and 100 of the General Principle of Civil Law of the People's Republic of China, the right of name and the right of image are protected. It is prohibited to use another's image for commercial use without that person's consent. In the new Tort Liabilities Law, the right of privacy is mentioned for the first time in the legislation.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_rights#People.27s_Republic_of_China [wikipedia.org]
  • by CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) on Friday January 06, 2012 @06:38AM (#38608018) Journal

    OK, but how does that mean that Apple is capable of suing on behalf of a dead CEO of the company? Face it, if this was anyone else, you would all immediately see how ridiculous it is.

    Face it, if it was anyone but Steve Jobs, you would immediately see how ridiculous a unlicensed doll would be.

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