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Ali’s Image Use: SETTLED!

Written by Leanne Davies on 20 July 2018

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On Monday 16th July. A notification of settlement was filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division, concerning the use of Muhammad Ali’s image, by Fox Broadcasting.

Before the 2017 Superbowl a promotional video was broadcast using Ali’s persona. Ali’s estate then went on to sue Fox in October 2016. Citing that it was infringing the late boxer’s image rights by using his name, image and likeness in a three-minute long video. It is claimed that the video had likened Ali to National Football Players and used his persona to define “greatness.”

The claim was initially filed in in US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, before it was moved to California. Then in 2018 Fox counterclaimed in January 2018, stating that the video was in accordance with the First Amendment as a matter of public interest because although they had used his image they had paid tribute to his life and legacy by drawing attention to his achievements.

Fox then sought judgement on the proceedings the same day that they counterclaimed. Further claiming that Ali’s estate contends it had the right to control everything that Fox could say or show surrounding Ali. Fox said that if Muhammed Ali Enterprises’ opinion of the law was indeed correct, then the same could be applied to other individual identities that were shown to depict historical characters introduced in the video. Fix went on to explain that the law does not allow for public figures to censor or control what any broadcasters can say about them when covering a notable event.

On July 17th it was announced that the action and all claims were dismissed with prejudice.

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