Wright Lindsey Jennings attorney Meredith Lowry has successfully drafted legislation protecting publicity rights for Arkansas residents. House Bill 1002, known as the Frank Broyles Publicity Rights Protection Act, cleared both the House and the Senate on May 20, after an earlier version of the bill was vetoed by Gov. Hutchinson in 2015. Lowry, who drafted the legislation on behalf of the Broyles family, worked with a number of media organizations and artists to amend the 2016 version of the bill to address concerns about limits on free speech and First Amendment rights for certain professionals, specifically photographers.
The new act protects the “names, voices, signatures, photographs, and likenesses” of Arkansas citizens from exploitation and unauthorized commercial use without consent, and makes publicity rights legally transferable after an individual’s death. The act also includes exemptions for uses in news, expressive works and photography.
Interestingly, similar legislation intended to protect the likeness of Prince following his death failed in the Minnesota legislature recently, due in large part to a lack of an exemption for expressive works.