Journal of Intellectual Property Law


America's obsession with the true crime genre has evoked an explosion in volume and variety of recreations of the country's most prolific crimes. The never-ending re-enactments constantly barrage the victims and family members of those who suffered at the hands of the killers. The nightmare of the crimes they already endured never cease, as victims are forced to relive their worst torments via movies, television shows, and podcasts discussing the crimes. Producers and directors are currently free to appropriate and capitalize off of individuals' images without so much as a consultation. From dramatic depictions by actors to docuseries evaluations of the real crime footage, Hollywood is exploiting the names and personhood of crime victims in order to profit. As the law currently stands, directors are incentivized to further injure extremely vulnerable and traumatized individuals. States need to recognize a universal right of publicity that allows for appropriated victims to enforce against those impermissibly using their identities. With the everchanging media landscape, the law must evolve to compensate for injuries never previously imagined. As the true crime genre continues to expand, so too must the rights available to protect the injured victims' stores and trauma that they hope to exploit.