IP Lunch & Learn: Will I Be the Next Hashtag?

IP Lunch & Learn: Will I Be the Next Hashtag?


Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - 12:00pm


Rich Room at UNH School of Law 2 White St. Concord, NH 03301

RSVP by Feb 23

Will I Be the Next Hashtag: Can the Right of Publicity and/or Privacy Protect Those Killed by Police from Internet Infamy? 

with Deidre Keller of Ohio Northern University (ONU) Claude W. Pettit College of Law faculty

FREE lunch will be served! RSVP by February 23rd: https://unh.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3DWkVqgUlB6ZMwd 

Social media has become an important site for organizing and resistance in the 21st Century. But, what happens when the family of a child slain by police wishes to keep that child’s name from becoming the next viral hash tag? The recent death of Jordan Edwards at the hands of a Balch Spring, Texas police officer begs precisely this question. Jordan is, of course, one of many black boys killed extralegally, the most famous of whom is, perhaps, Emmett Till. At Emmett’s funeral his mother, Mamie Till, made the extraordinary decision to have her son’s casket open so that the world could see what the lynch mob had done to him. This decision has been hailed as heroic and instrumental in the nascent Civil Rights’ Movement. Not incidentally, the photographs taken of Emmett’s badly mangled face have recently become the center of a controversy in which a white artist utilized those images to create a painting that today hangs in the Whitney Museum. That controversy begs the same question presented by Jordan Edwards’ family’s choice to not immediately offer their son up as a martyr: what in the law might the family use to protect theirslain child’s name andlikeness from becoming an object for mass consumption? The mechanisms ordinarily utilized to protect against unlicensed uses of name and likeness are the right of publicity and the right to privacy. In this presentation, I’ll consider whether these mechanisms are up to the task of enforcing the wishes of Jordan Edward’s family or the next family that finds itself seeking privacy and dignity in the wake of horrible tragedy.

Deidré Keller joined the Ohio Northern University (ONU) Claude W. Pettit College of Law faculty in August 2010 as an assistant professor. She has taught Property I and II, Trusts & Estates, the Intellectual Property survey course and seminar, a Law and Literature seminar, Internet Law, Legal Problem Solving and Analysis. Prof. Keller has also taught in the LSAC DiscoverLaw.org PLUS program at ONU. Professor Keller writes at the intersection of intellectual property, personhood theory, and the Constitution. 

Prior to teaching, Prof. Keller practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia, with the firms of Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan, LLP and Seyfarth Shaw, LLP. She specialized in intellectual property with an emphasis on trademarks and copyrights.