Plaintiff, James Dean Inc., wants the @JamesDean Twitter handle. Somebody else has been using the Twitter handle since 2009 as a fan account for the Fairmount, Indiana-raised rebel movie icon. The @JamesDean account has more than 8,200 followers and has sent over 2,200 tweets. CMG Worldwide, the exclusive licensee of James Dean’s name and likeness, unable to convince Twitter to hand over the account, are now suing Twitter directly in federal court to force compliance. Twitter looks set to put up a full defense rather than subject themselves to an onslaught of username complaints.
Stay tuned for what will likely become a precedent-setting case for dead celebrity Twitter handles.
Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-00183-WTL-DML
File Date: Friday, February 07, 2014
Plaintiff: James Dean, Inc., John Doe, One, John Doe, Two, John Doe, Three, John Doe, Four
Plaintiff Counsel: Theodore J. Minch of Sovich Minch, LLP
Defendant: Twitter, Inc.
Cause: Trademark Infringement, False Endorsement, Indiana State Statutory Right of Publicity, Common Law Right of Publicity, Common Law Unfair Competition, Unjust Enrichment, Conversion, Deception, Indiana Crime Victims’ Act
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge William T. Lawrence
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch