When he dies, Bill Cosby doesn't want to go the way of Fred Astaire shilling for Dirt Devil or Audrey Hepburn selling Gap black pants, so he's backing a law that would protect his likeness—and that of everyone else who lives in Massachusetts—by passing those rights to their heirs. According to The Boston Globe's Leon Neyfakh, Cosby is hoping his heirs can avoid a situation Bob Marley's family faced in 2007 when Verizon and Universal went over the family's head to start using Marley's songs and images to sell ringtones or when Michael Jackson's family, earlier this year, reached a deal with Pepsi to use his likeness in a new marketing campaign. (Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, for one, added a clause to his will to prevent the use of his music or image for any advertisements.) Cosby has taken matters into his own hands, getting some help from Massachusetts State Senator Stanley Rosenberg in creating a bill, and it could be a law by the end of the year. Neyfakh explains:
If the bill becomes law, people in Massachusetts—most notably those who, like Bill Cosby, have built up bankable personas over the course of their lives—will be able to treat their identities as pieces of property that continue to exist in the world long after they do. For 70 years after your death, according to the proposed bill, your identity will legally live on, and your heirs will be able to own it, or sell it, or sue anyone who uses it without asking.
For the full read head on over to The Boston Globe.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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