Nike sues to include Vince Lombardi speech in commercial

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Nike sues to include Vince Lombardi speech in commercial

Wed Mar 10, 2010 @ 10:25AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Dead celebrities have become cash cows for their estates. Laws protecting the publicity rights of the deceased have been expanded, and no management firm has benefited more from the trend than CMG Worldwide, representing Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and other late entertainers.

But sometimes, an advertiser's request goes beyond the means of the estate.

Shoemaking giant Nike has filed a lawsuit in Washington Circuit Court against the Estate of famed football coach Vince Lombardi and CMG for breaching a contract.

According to the complaint, Nike wanted to air a commercial that featured one of Lombardi's speeches. The company approached the Estate to discuss the possibility of licensing the words and audio recording.
The contract was signed but the Estate then allegedly failed to produce the audio recording. "The mere text of the Lombardi Speech was of no value to Nike," says the complaint.

Nike is calling an audible and wants its money back. Meanwhile, Lombardi has suddenly become a hot property as Robert De Niro is set to star as the coach in a biopic being developed by ESPN Films. They'll probably find some value in the text of those speeches.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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