Intellectual Property Claim against Twitter from Estate of the James Dean

One of the noted firms in the world of intellectual property is the CMG Worldwide which specialises in managing the intellectual property rights of the estates of famous and notable individuals such as Jimmy Stewart and now, James Dean.  The family and descendants of the noted actor who passed away over half a century ago had repeatedly requested that the account @JamesDean be removed.  The case is being heard in the state of Indianapolis in the United States District Court.  There has been no public official response from Twitter.

The case is occurring the context of the development of a jurisprudence on the ownership of social media accounts and the responsibility for their use.  LinkedIn and Facebook have already faced spates of litigation in relation to this issue.  Google, Facebook and Twitter now have compliance programs in place which seek to ensure that online defamation is not allowed to occur on their sites and corners of the internet.  It is now a commonly encountered problem that people find that there is a vicious and unwarranted attack made on their reputation online through the posting of a blog or on a social media account and they find that they are unable respond or protect their reputation in any meaningful way because of the lack of controls over the publication of content the internet.

The internet has always had as one of its founding values the idea that all should have access to the rights of free speech.  However, increasingly it is becoming obvious that this right needs to be balanced against the right of others to be free from malicious attacks against their character and reputation.  The courts appear to be recognising that this increasingly becoming something that the courts and legal system need to be across in order to adequately settle disputes in the contemporary social scene.  There are now a number of legal service providers which specialise in the protection of reputation and the prosecution of plaintiff defamation claims.

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