An Allen Toussaint law? Attempting to ban koozies, unlicensed merchandise using likeness

Allen Toussaint at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell in 2006. (Photo credit: Black Mold)

By: James Smith, LSU Manship School News Service

Published: Apr. 30, 2019

BATON ROUGE–A Louisiana House committee approved a bill that would enact the Allen Toussaint Legacy Act, outlawing the use of a deceased individual’s name, image and likeness without the consent of the individual’s family or representative.

House Bill 377, named after a famous New Orleans musician, seeks to prevent the exploitation of Louisiana’s cultural assets and ensure the protection of performers’ identities.

An unlicensed merchandiser selling “koozies” – fabric or foam sleeves used to keep beverages chilled – featuring Toussaint’s image at the 2016 Jazz Fest, months after the singer’s death, inspired Tim Kappel, a music business attorney and Loyola professor, to push for the bill.

Currently, Louisiana does not protect the publicity rights of a deceased individual, so Toussaint’s family did not receive any benefit from the merchandiser.

This measure, which has been debated since 2017, seeks to change that.

“It struck me as odd that there would be people out there merchandizing his name, image and likeness without the consent of the family, which I assumed had not been granted,” Kappel said

Read more in The Advocate.

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