Holographic Concerts Could Set off Wave of Lawsuits

Marilyn Monroe could be returning to the stage.

Back in April, a hologram of Tupac Shakur took the stage at the Coachella Valley Music Festival. Now, lawyers and music industry executives are fearing the implications of more digital reboots of deceased entertainers.

Marilyn Monroe could be the next pop culture icon to take the stage again. There’s a concert in the works featuring a holographic Marilyn taking the stage to perform alongside live performers.

A new technology often creates new legal ground, and holograms might not be any different. The estates of dead celebrities could claim rights to the use of the deceased likeness.

In California, many celebrities own “rights of publicity” to their image. It’s designed to protect famous people from exploitation by parties without their consent.

Digicon, the company developing the Monroe performance, says it owns the rights to a virtual Marilyn and that might be enough to avoid a confrontation with Monroe’s estate.

Johnathan Faber, an executive with The Luminary Group, which handles the rights of deceased celebrities, says he’s not sure how the courts will interpret the rights associated with a holographic presentation.

He says he wouldn’t rule out bringing suit if he felt it didn’t satisfy the family’s wishes.