Robin Williams Locked Down His Image for 25 Years

In what the 'Hollywood Reporter' notes could become an industry model
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2015 10:20 AM CDT
Robin Williams Locked Down His Image for 25 Years
Actor Robin Williams arrives at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles Britannia Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Nov. 30, 2011.   (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)

Robin Williams' children are fighting his widow in court over how to divide his belongings—and one of the exhibits in the court battle reveals that Williams protected the use of his image in what the Hollywood Reporter calls an "innovative, cutting-edge" way that "just might become a model for other celebrities preparing for their demise." As part of the Robin Williams Trust, Williams bequeathed the legal rights to his name, image, likeness, and signature to a charitable foundation his own legal reps had set up. The Trust decrees that Williams' "right of publicity" won't be exploited for 25 years after his death, meaning that the first time you might see an authorized ad featuring the comedian is 2039.

It also means you won't be seeing, at least not immediately, a holographic Williams' stand-up routine a la Michael Jackson or Tupac. "It's interesting that Williams restricted use for 25 years," says one estate-planning expert. "I haven't seen that before. I've seen restrictions on the types of uses—no Coke commercials, for example—but not like this." Meanwhile, Time notes, a "peaceful conclusion" looks to be in store for the aforementioned court battle: Williams' kids and widow agreed yesterday to private mediation, as well as a transfer of various items in the near future. (Meanwhile, daughter Zelda has posted a statement on Tumblr.)

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