Robin Williams restricted use of his image until 2039, actor's family can't challenge bequest provision
No one can use Robin Williams' image or likeness for any advertisement purposes until August 2039
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Robin Williams died by suicide in 2014 at the age of 63 after reportedly being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and suffering from paranoia, depression, and anxiety.
The actor made arrangements before his death to ensure that his publicity rights would remain untouched for a considerable amount of time.
Legal tussle between family members after Robin Williams' death
Williams’ shocking suicide turned his near and dear ones’ world upside down, but it also reportedly led to a legal fight between the late star's wife, Susan Schneider Williams, and his children --- Zelda, Zachary Pym, and Cody Williams.
Susan alleged that she was not getting enough money through Williams’ estate but the actor’s children thought their stepmother’s accusations were not right and insulting.
However, eventually, the matter was resolved out of court in 2015, and in a statement, the graphic designer said, as per People, “I feel like Robin’s voice has been heard and I can finally grieve in the home we shared together.”
Robin Williams' wife received 'only a fraction of the overall estate’
Her attorneys also said at the time, “Mrs Williams is able to keep the few emotional items she requested, such as their wedding gifts, selected clothing items, a watch Robin often wore, plus the bike she and her husband bought together on their honeymoon.”
“With an overall estate estimated at more than $100 million, Mrs. Williams will be receiving only a fraction of the overall estate, representing those funds sufficient to allow her to remain in the home for her lifetime,” they added.
‘It could be a privacy issue’
Though Williams’ family members fought over his personal property after his death, one thing that they could not do anything about was reportedly his right of publicity.
Citing an exhibit, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ actor “bequeathed rights" to his picture, signature, as well as likeness to the Windfall Foundation, which means no one can use Williams’ face until August 2039 for any advertisement purposes.
This will practically make it impossible for anyone to use a hologram of the actor's standup performance or even use new technology to insert Williams into a film.
In 2015, Laura Zwicker, an attorney at Greenberg Glusker, said, “It’s interesting that Williams restricted use for 25 years.”
“I haven’t seen that before. I’ve seen restrictions on the types of uses — no Coke commercials for example — but not like this. It could be a privacy issue,” Zwicker added.