Apple Won’t Be Able To Stop Steve Jobs Action Figure From Going On Sale In Most States

Apple Won’t Be Able To Stop Steve Jobs Action Figure From Going On Sale In Most States

Remember that Steve Jobs action figure from the other day that Apple is trying to force legally off the market, insinuating they own Steve Jobs’s likeness?

Turns out that it looks like in most states, Apple can’t really do squat to prevent the sale of DiD Corp’s Steve Jobs doll? As it turns out, even if Apple did own Steve Jobs’s likeness, that would only be valid in most states while Jobs was alive. Now that he’s dead, though, almost anyone can profit off of his likeness.

Paid Content explains:

Apple’s legal claim is largely bogus. While people can indeed own rights to their likeness, those rights usually apply only to living people. Unlike other forms of intellectual property like patents or copyrights, image rights do not survive beyond the grave in most places.

Under American law, so-called “personality rights” exist only at the state level—there is no federal law. And only about a dozen states recognize image rights after death. Oddly, it is Indiana that has the strongest protection, restricting commercial use of a person’s image for 100 years after their passing.

But in New York and most other places, there is no protection at all. This was confirmed five years when a court in the state found that no one had the exclusive right to market Marilyn Monroe. Efforts to change the law have so far failed.

What this means is that Apple’s warning about the doll is an empty threat in most places. It may not even be able to stop others from using the name Steve Jobs as, surprisingly, the term does not appear on the company’s long list of registered trademarks. A company spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

So no reason to pay gigantic mark-ups for one of these figures on eBay. Apple’s unlikely to be able to stop DiDCorp, and you’ll be able to get one come February for just $99, unless you live in one of these states: Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, California, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, Nebraska, Kentucky, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

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  • Sean Smith

    There are some typos in this article (and title) that need to be corrected. And of course Connecticut has to be one of the states since I live here. Not sure if I’d even want this thing but I’m wondering if it would be possible to get it simply by ordering it from a store in another state that doesn’t have these asinine laws.

  • FriarNurgle

    I’ll just stick with buying the gadgets. 

  • SupaMac

    likewise

  • David Clark

    When is there not? Especially in Brownlee’s articles… Amateur central!

  • ddevito

    Want

  • vikassaraswat

    Writer you so f… Wrong

    Any way it’s not apple to stop it rather mr jobs family should come ahead and file case.

    Its very simple, some try to make money by selling my image. I bet I can make that company pay every thing they have got.
    Again apple can’t stop them but their family can.

  • Zeteboy

    And really what is the point to stopping the sales…really????

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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