Over the past holiday I treated my 15 year old grandson to a movie. Rogue One was not my choice but he enjoyed it immensely. At the close of the movie, a computer generated image of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia appeared on the screen. One day later, Carrie Fisher passed away after suffering a heart attack on a flight about to land at Los Angeles.
Reuters Entertainment News reports that there is now a growing concern among actors over how best to protect the rights of their estates should they be posthumously depicted in some future movie. California currently requires that the heirs may control the way in which their images may be used posthumously — if at all. It is now clear that this subject involves substantial intellectual property rights which need to be addressed while the performer is still alive. As computer generated technology continues to improve and expand, protection of these intellectual property rights will be of greater importance and provisions for this will become common features of contracts in the entertainment industry.