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Today the right of publicity clearly allows people to control the commercial use of their names and images during their lives. What happens after death is much murkier. Throughout much of the world, the right of publicity ends at death, after which a person’s identity becomes generally available for public use. In the United States, however, this issue is governed by state laws, which have taken a remarkably varied approach. Interestingly, Hebrew University and its American marketing agent have aggressively defended Einstein’s image, even blocking its use on a book called “Everything’s Relative.”

1. According to the article, how much has Einstein’s estate generated for his heirs?
2. Is there a mechanism by which you could prevent the exploitation of your reputation after you die? What is the author of this article proposing?
3. According to the article, what cost does the economic value of a dead celebrity’s image impose? How does the author think this cost should be assessed?

Source: Madoff, R.D. (2011). The New Grave Robbers, The New York Times, March 27 (Retrievable online at