Who Owns a Column name? The Columnist or the Publisher?

A Ms Corri Fetman who is a US lawyer with considerable assets that practices divorce law had a column in popular magazine Playboy, titled “Lawyer of Love”. Her employment there terminated when she accused an executive of sexual harassment.

When she attempted to register the term “Lawyer of Love”, she found herself sued by Playboy who claim that they own the term.

For more details see here

Is this harrassment or have they a case?

Apparently, Ms Fetman posed for the magazine and her photo-spread is presumably copyright owned by the magazine. Unless she has signed a contractual agreement not to pose for other publications, she can obtain similar exposure elsewhere. Unless there is a contract to the contrary, presumably Playboy can publish the images of her elsewhere in any forum, possibly including those thought unflattering to print. It is however, not clear to me who owns the rights for the name of a column that she can perhaps take elsewhere. Presumably the courts will decide.

I assume that despite the Basic Law of Freedom of Occupation, one assumes that the Israel Bar would strike off lawyers posing in the nude. In the US it appears to be less of a problem. Having recently had cause to look at their code of ethics, I note that the AIPA, the Association of Patent Attorneys in Israel does not relate to extra-curricular activities either, but it is an offence to appear before the Commissioner of Patents in innapropriate dress.

Categories: Copyright, trademarks

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