MA Sen. Stan Rosenberg Pushes Bill to Protect Images of State Celebrities After Death

A bill that would protect the image and work of celebrities after their death has been introduced to the Massachusetts State legislature, and could pass during the legislature’s informal session.

State Senator Stanley Rosenberg of Amherst says the bill would allow Massachusetts celebrities to maintain their residence in the state, without worrying over whether their image or persona could be co-opted after their death. Rosenberg says Massachusetts currently provides protections for living celebrities, but celebrity heirs have no so-called “right to publicity” after a celebrity’s death.

“We have a number of celebrities, sports celebrities, actors, performers of various sorts, who live in Massachusetts, a very desirable place in which to live, because of our cultural environment, etc. And they want to continue to live here, but are basically having to consider the possibility of moving.”

Rosenberg says some of the stars who would be affected by the legislation include Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Comedian Bill Cosby – who lives part-time in western Massachusetts, and younger celebrities like Mark Whalberg and Matt Damon. 

The bill passed the senate on a voice vote this week, and now heads to the house. Rosenberg says he’s optimistic that the bill will pass during the informal session. If the bill passes, Massachusetts would become the sixteenth state in the country with a right to publicity law.