Hustler Spread of Murder Victim: Arguably Tasteless, but Certainly First Amendment Protected

Nancy Benoit in a 1986 Photo

Nancy Benoit in a 1986 Photo

I have just posted my first installment at the Citizen Media Law Project Blog. Here’s the teaser:

In June 2007, professional wrestling promotrix, Nancy Benoit and her son, Daniel, were the victims of a double murder-suicide committed by her husband, WWE wrestler, Chris Benoit.

Approximately 20 years earlier, Ms. Benoit (then Nancy Daus) posed nude for photographer Mark Samansky. Benoit/Daus allegedly had a change of heart and requested that the materials be destroyed. Nevertheless, Samansky kept the video and made stills from it.

After Benoit’s murder, Hustler Magazine obtained copies of Samansky’s photographs and stills with the intention of publishing them in the March 2008 edition of Hustler Magazine. Benoit’s mother, as administrator of her estate, retained counsel who sent a demand to Hustler claiming that the publication of the materials would violate Benoit’s copyright and publicity rights. Hustler’s attorney, Paul Cambria, responded in this letter that copyright law did not apply, and that Hustler had a First Amendment right to publish the photos:

Read the rest of this post at CMLP.

One Response to Hustler Spread of Murder Victim: Arguably Tasteless, but Certainly First Amendment Protected

  1. LulzRulez says:

    LULZ at the final quote: “The fact that the Court personally views publication of the photographs to be offensive and distasteful is not determinative.”

    On a less LULZy matter, are the issues in this case at all germane to those involved in the Time v. Hill (1967) case? tyia

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