Did the Jenner Girls’ Unsuccessful T-Shirt Idea Violate a Right of Publicity?

Kendall Jenner

Momager Kris Jenner has had plenty of weight on her shoulders as her youngest daughters, Kendall and Kylie, added more drama to spin.


The Jenner sisters caused a frenzy June 29 after trying to sell T-shirts with the images of actual stars, both living and dead.


Images of musical greats, like the Doors, Ozzy Osbourne, and even long-deceased rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., were featured on the shirt, with the girls’ faces and even some risqué photos plastered over the photos or logos. They are already facing one copyright infringement lawsuit resulting from this incident, and they might yet face other legal consequences.


Sharon Osbourne, wife of heavy metal performer Ozzy Osbourne, was one of the first to criticize the girls and their shirts on Twitter.


The estates of the deceased celebrities were also upset. Voletta Wallace, Biggie’s mother, called Kendall and Kylie out on Instagram.


Kendall and Kylie apologized on Twitter, but their use of the images without prior permission might violate those celebrities’ right of publicity or personality.


The right of publicity or personality is how a person can control any commercial use of their name, likeness, and other component of their identity.


While the living may pursue a lawsuit, the estates for the deceased are responsible for filing, if they see fit. A long-running legal battle between the estate of Marilyn Monroe and A.V.E.L.A. Inc., a vintage memorabilia manufacturer, is an example of what could happen if those estates decide to file.


Marilyn Monroe’s estate has been involved in an on-going legal fight for the past five years. They said these memorabilia sellers violated its right to control use of the star’s right of publicity or personality. The makers argue that the Monroe’s name is so generic that it can’t be trademarked or even controlled.