In an exceedingly depressing turn of events, a management company by the name of CMG Worldwide is suing Twitter over their refusal to axe the handle @JamesDean, claiming that the handle misappropriates publicity rights. The legal action is essentially over the James Dean brand name, which is just the saddest thing.
The downer lawsuit started in Indiana, which has publicity rights laws that are more favorable to celebrities and their representation, but Twitter has had the case moved to federal courts. There, they will continue their raincloud-sad fight over @JamesDean, which has 8,000 followers and seems to be fairly inoffensive. Whoever is behind the handle refers to Dean in the third person, so it’s not exactly a matter of impersonation. Even if it was, Twitter’s completely disheartening policy on dead celebrities is that their names are fair game, although I have no idea if there’s a ‘too soon’ clause, and am far too disappointed that this whole thing is even happening to bother to check.
By the way, CMG Worldwide has, over the years, warped James Dean into a brand name that commands $3-5 million per year in licensing fees. I’m going to go give up on today, go to bed, and hope for a better tomorrow.