Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Landmark Marilyn Monroe Copyright Dispute Decided

Marilyn-monroeMarilyn Monroe sat for "Last Sitting" for the famed photographer Bert Stern on June 1962, just weeks before her tragic death, and the 2,571 photographs indeed became on of her last professional shoot. Those pictures are now seen to be among the most important celebrity photographs of all time, and were part of a copyright dispute settled in New York federal court.

Shannah Laumeister Stern, Bert Stern's widow, acting as trustee for the trust, filed suit against Lisa and Lynette Lavender, twin sisters who were Stern’s assistants, claiming copyright infringement involving the reproduction and online sale of prints and of modified versions of certain Monroe images.

The judge found that the testamentary trust was the rightful owner of all copyrights of the images taken by Bert Stern and that they were valid, and the issue of of whether the Lavender sisters infringed on the copyright interests will go to trial.

See Anna Sulkin, Landmark Marilyn Monroe Copyright Dispute Decided, Wealth Management, August 3, 2018.


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