"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Does a Man Own Himself?

Who is the only Jewish winner of a Heisman Trophy?

---Fred Goldman.

That was the joke a few years back when O.J. Simpson was found liable in a civil trial for the wrongful death of Ron Goldman on the awful night of June 12, 1994. Father Fred won a judgment of what is now with accrued interest $38 million, which Simpson has never paid off.

Yes, he really did get the trophy, which was auctioned off for $382,000, the proceeds split with Nicole Brown Simpson's survivors, the only money they've seen. And so, he and the Brown family want to own O.J. Simpson, at least his public self, even his autograph.

Now, John Locke was very big on self-ownership, and it certainly was ludicrous when the copyright holder of the Creedence Clearwater Revival catalog, Saul Zaentz, sued John Fogerty for plagiarizing himself.

But a public image has been recognized as a legal and commercial commodity entirely separate from one's private personhood. Such a weird world we live in.

A Los Angeles attorney, Bela Lugosi, Jr. (yes, that one), has become a specialist in defending the commercial rights of name and likeness for the estates, survivors and copyright holders of the famous. Lugosi, Jr. helped win a trial for the legal owners of the Three Stooges' images, so I guess he's pretty good.

I wish he'd been around a few years ago.


"If only I'd sent that blue dress to Dan's Dry Cleaners. I would've
got Osama bin Laden, and 9/11 would never have happened."


Bill Clinton™, Inc., ©2006 is a wholly owned subsidiary
of Paula Jones Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

Devang said...

I don't know about owning one's self (I can only imagine the wife does after marriage), but I can be a bit more certain about owning the consequences of one's actions.

But in a politicians life, I imagine accountability being far more important than either of those two. Happy Elections!