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Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Co.

March 15, 2012

Why it Matters:

This case was the first U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Right of Publicity.

Year: 1977


Hugo Zacchini sued after a local news channel broadcast his entire 15-second performance. He argues that the value of his act depended on the willingness of people to pay to see his act, and by airing his performance in its entirety the local news hurt his opportunity to make a living.


The Supreme Court rejected the company’s defenses and noted that their ruling wasn’t just to ensure the performer received compensation, but also to provide “an economic incentive for him to make the investment required to produce a performance of interest to the public.”

Zacchini V. Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Co., 433 US 562 (Supreme Court 1977).

From → Case Law

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