Copyright Preemption Nixed in Models’ Privacy and Misappropriation Case

Professional models Amber Coyle and Jasmin Dustin were paid to participate in a photo and video shoot by Michael O’Rourke and O’Rourke Holdings, LLC.  Coyle and Dustin later sued O’Rourke and O’Rourke Holdings (O’Rourke) for violating the oral and written agreements the parties entered into at the time of the photo and video shoot.  Coyle and Dustin brought their suit in Los Angeles Superior Court.  They alleged the California state law claims of invasion of privacy and misappropriation of likeness against O’Rourke.

O’Rourke removed the case from state court to federal court, then immediately moved to dismiss the case.  O’Rourke claimed that Coyle’s and Dustin’s state law claims were preempted by the Copyright Act, which is federal law.  Preemption means that the federal law displaces the state law.  Coyle’s and Dustin’s complaint did not mention anything about copyright.

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