New York State which currently has a right of publicity statute in its Civil Rights Law (Sections 50 and 51) for living individuals has adopted a post-mortem right of publicity which shall protect the name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness of persons whose rights of publicity has commercial value at the time of their death or “because of their death.” The protected person must have been domiciled in New York  and must have died 180 days after the effective date of the statute, November 30, 2020. There is no retroactive protection and the protection only lasts for 40 years after the death. There are exceptions in the post-mortem statute as there are for those related to violations of living persons’ rights of publicity such as those related to news and educational uses, among others.  The successors to the estates of the deceased must register their claimed right with the New York Secretary of State.

Of interest is the provision which protects the deceased from use of “digital replicas” which would lead a viewer to believe that such a replica was authorized by the deceased or their estate. In addition, the new law protects the unwitting subjects of “revenge porn” against unauthorized depiction of sexuality which the victim did not actually perform or where the images were altered.