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The Human Cannonball Lands in the Supreme Court

Hugo Zacchini, human cannonballHugo Zacchini, widely credited as being the first human cannonball, took his act to the highest court of the land. Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard Broadcasting is the first and only case decided by the United States Supreme Court that deals with the right of publicity.

The story begins with Hugo’s father, Ildebrando Zacchini. Ildebrando had a circus (the Zacchini Family Circus) that toured the world. Lidebrand also invented a compressed air cannon that could be used to launch humans. Hugo and his father originated the human cannonball…

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  • First Amendment , Privacy , Privacy - Right of Publicity
  • Jul 16, 2014

The Right of Publicity and the First Amendment


Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.  

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  • Privacy , Privacy - Right of Publicity , Video
  • Jun 24, 2014

The Right of Publicity and the First Amendment

Right of Publicity and the First AmendmentThe right of publicity is not a constitutional right. In fact, the United States constitution does not so much as mention the right of publicity (not even the penumbra). The right of publicity is fundamentally an economic right to exploit your name, image and likeness for commercial gain.

The constitution, more specifically, the First Amendment, keeps the right of publicity in check. The First Amendment protects our right to comment on, parody, and make other expressive uses of a person’s…

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  • First Amendment , Privacy , Privacy - Right of Publicity
  • Jun 18, 2014

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