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August 8, 2008

The Right to Life... Story.

Nope. This isn't about abortion or anything like that. It's about 50 Cent. No really.

50 Cent has bought the rights to his ex-girlfriend's life story. Apparently, he was trying to keep his baby mama, Shaniqua Tompkins, from writing a tell-all book about her history with the rapper.
"I bought the rights to her life story so she couldn't write a book. I seen her being ridiculous; I knew her capabilities of going in that direction, so I bought the rights," 50 explained. [TheBoomBox.com]
How the hell does someone do that? I can understand if he had her sign a confidentiality document or something else that would keep her from writing about him, but how can he buy the rights to her story? Honestly, I know he's got enough money to sue her (or buy and sell her) if she ever does decide to write a tell-all, but I don't know if this 'legal agreement' will actually hold up in court.

Now, I'm no lawyer, but basically when you buy someone's life story rights... that usually means that they are giving you permission to write their life story. (Meaning that they won't sue you for invasion of privacy or defamation or anything). It doesn't necessarily mean that they are not allowed to write about their own life story.

If someone is famous or has done something 'newsworthy', you don't really need life story rights to tell their story. Someone with a 'public persona' doesn't have the same rights to privacy that us common folk have. You don't really need authorization or permission to write about a celebrity (how do you think all those 'Unauthorized Biographies' get published?) That celebrity can, of course, sue someone for writing an inaccurate biography, but they'd have to prove that it was in fact, inaccurate and damaging to their reputation.

According to Paul D. Supnik, Attorney at Law, the term "life story rights" does not have a standard clearly defined definition and are a "nebulous collection of real and imagined rights" commonly considered to included rights related to privacy, publicity, and defamation.

The First Amendment may allow works to be created without acquisition of any life story rights. Certain materials may be considered to be in the public domain, such as from newspaper articles or court transcripts...

The right of privacy has various forms. It includes the right to be left alone, free from intrusiveness. It includes the right not to be portrayed in a false light. It includes the right to not bring to light embarrassing facts which may have been buried and unknown to the public for a lengthy period of time. And it includes an economic right generally referred to as the right of publicity...

Rights of privacy as well as claims of defamation generally disappear on the death of an individual. Thus, it is not a right which may be assigned or passed on by will. That may not be true for the right of publicity depending on the particular jurisdiction, as some jurisdictions have "postmortem" rights of publicity.

Additionally, rights of privacy and claims of defamation generally disappear upon death.

So even if 50 Cent's purchase of Tompkins' life story stands up in court, as a celebrity she can still write about his life story if she wants to. Although he's given us a pretty good idea... Aren't there plenty of celebrities who should never ever be allowed to write a memoir? You know, like Spencer and Heidi... or, Hilary Duff, Brooke Hogan, or... ahem, Tyra Banks. Let's all chip in and buy the rights to their life stories so we can prevent them from writing tell-all books.

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2 comments:

Dollface said...

Wow that really doesn't make sense to me, either. What is 50 Cent so afraid of anyway? I can't believe that his ex has something so super-shocking to reveal about him that he would BUY her life story.

So strange.

Harlequin said...

hah now really, how much is 50 cent's life even worth? the irony in all of this is really amusing me...


-Harlequin