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Heirs of Marilyn Monroe Lose Photo Rights

Posted May 4, 2007 7:35 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Marilyn Monroe’s popularity lives on, but laws passed after her death do not give heirs rights to her photos, a judge has ruled.

The dispute was over photos taken by the late Sam Shaw, the New York Law Journal reports. Monroe’s heirs claimed a right to profits from their sale under laws creating a postmortem right of publicity adopted in New York, California and Indiana after she died.

Judge Colleen McMahon of Manhattan federal court said a boilerplate clause in Monroe’s will devising property "to which [she] shall be in any way entitled," did not apply to property rights created under laws passed 22 years after her death.

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