“Lack of Property Rights: Why Michael Oher and Mike Tyson’s Lawsuits Over Life Story ‘Rights’ Are Misguided”
1. No recognized property right under U.S. law, or any other country’s law, exists for the facts and events that occur during someone’s life.
– Michael Oher sues the Tuohys, claiming they enabled 20th Century Fox to acquire exclusive rights to his life story without his consent.
– Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson accuses Hulu of stealing his life story for a miniseries without permission.
2. The freedom to describe historical events is protected by the First Amendment, but commercial use of an individual’s name, image, and likeness is protected by the “right of publicity.”
– The “right of publicity” applies to merchandise and endorsements, not facts and actual events.
– Authors and film producers can truthfully depict factual events without authorization or payment to those involved.