October 4, 2017
On September 29, 2017, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (Walton Pratt, J.) issued a decision dismissing claims by three former college football players, Akeem Daniels, Cameron Stingily and Nicholas Stoner, alleging that Fanduel, Inc. and Draftkings, Inc. each violated the players’ respective rights of publicity by including their names and likenesses in fantasy sports competitions. The lawsuit is entitled Daniels, et al. v. Fanduel, Inc., et al., Case No. 16-cv-01230-TWP-DKL (the “Fantasy Sports Lawsuit”).
The decision dismissing the Fantasy Sports Lawsuit turned on whether the defendants’ use of the plaintiffs’ names and likenesses fell within any of the four statutory exceptions to Indiana’s right-of-publicity statute (Code 32-36-1-8(a)), which provides that a “person may not use an aspect of a personality’s right of publicity for a commercial purpose during the personality’s lifetime or for one hundred (100) years after the date of the personality’s death without having obtained previous written consent . . . .” The statute defines a person’s right of publicity to include a personality’s property interest in the personality’s: (1) name; (2) voice; (3) signature; (4) photograph; (5) image; (6) likeness; (7) distinctive appearance; (8) gestures; or (9) mannerisms.
What Exceptions Applied to the use of Plaintiffs’ Names and Likenesses?