Einstein's Granddaughter Left Out of Licensing Windfall

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You see Albert Einstein's iconic image everywhere, from dolls to t-shirts to posters. He represents quixotic brilliance and there are substantial profits from selling Einstein's likeness. Unfortunately for his descendants, Einstein left the control of his estate in the hands of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, so they don't see a dime from the use of his image. Now, one of his granddaughters has taken her fight public trying to capture some of the estate's profits.

"I'm outraged," said the younger Einstein, who says she is a 69-year-old cancer survivor and needs the money for health care. "It's hard for me to believe they would treat the family the way they have, which has been abysmally."

Her grandfather, the German-born physicist who formulated the general theory of relativity, bequeathed the literary rights for the more than 75,000 papers and other items in his estate to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem when he died in 1955.

The Israeli university owns the rights to his likeness, using a Los Angeles-based company called Greenlight, LLC to handle licensing for items such as Einstein apparel, mugs, puzzles, coins, posters and other collectibles.

Read the full story at CNN.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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