I have just posted my first installment at the Citizen Media Law Project Blog. Here’s the teaser:
In June 2007, professional wrestling promotrix, Nancy Benoit and her son, Daniel, were the victims of a double murder-suicide committed by her husband, WWE wrestler, Chris Benoit.
Approximately 20 years earlier, Ms. Benoit (then Nancy Daus) posed nude for photographer Mark Samansky. Benoit/Daus allegedly had a change of heart and requested that the materials be destroyed. Nevertheless, Samansky kept the video and made stills from it.
After Benoit’s murder, Hustler Magazine obtained copies of Samansky’s photographs and stills with the intention of publishing them in the March 2008 edition of Hustler Magazine. Benoit’s mother, as administrator of her estate, retained counsel who sent a demand to Hustler claiming that the publication of the materials would violate Benoit’s copyright and publicity rights. Hustler’s attorney, Paul Cambria, responded in this letter that copyright law did not apply, and that Hustler had a First Amendment right to publish the photos: