Court Further Clarifies Marilyn Monroe Rights Issues

New Monroe Images Now Available to Licensees for First Time Ever Through Newly Formed Legends Licensing, LLC

SANTA ROSA, Calif.–LAWFUEL – As a result of a recent court ruling, the Right of Publicity for many of the most famous Marilyn Monroe photography libraries was clarified. As a result, owners of these iconic image libraries are now free to work directly with licensees to tap these libraries, including many new images of Monroe never before available for licensing. These Monroe libraries have now been gathered together under one roof at the newly formed company Legends Licensing, LLC (

The Monroe photographic libraries will be marketed through the Legends Licensing division, Marilyn Monroe Licensing Group. The group currently includes three prominent photography libraries — the Tom Kelley Collection, including Kelley’s iconic early nudes known as The Red Velvet Collection™, the Milton H. Greene Collection, and the Harold Lloyd Collection. More Monroe image libraries are expected to be added in the near future. Legends Licensing also represents the libraries of other celebrities and public figures.

For many years, access to the images of Marilyn Monroe, which are now available through Legends Licensing, had been restricted by CMG Worldwide, Inc. (CMG), a licensing agency, and Marilyn Monroe, LLC (MMLLC), a company claiming to own Marilyn Monroe’s Right of Publicity. On March 17, 2008, United States District Court, Central District of California, set the libraries free from the yoke of CMG and MMLLC’s control. The Court held that CMG and MMLLC do not own the Right of Publicity for Marilyn Monroe. Judge Margaret M. Morrow ruled that MMLLC had been playing “fast and loose with the courts” simply to benefit from a recently passed California law granting rights of publicity to a celebrity’s estate. CMG and MMLLC could not now claim Monroe was domiciled in California, after having asserted for nearly 40 years that Monroe was domiciled in New York in order to avoid paying California estate taxes.

The court’s ruling frees the way for licensees to work directly with the owners of these iconic image libraries, who have gathered together under the Marilyn Monroe Licensing Group banner at Legends Licensing. The images captured by these photographers are distinctive in no small part because of the photographers’ unique access to Marilyn Monroe, who considered them to be friends and colleagues. The owners and managers of these photograph estates – in most cases the children of the photographers — are deeply committed to honoring and protecting the legacy of Marilyn Monroe in all licensing circumstances.

“Until recently, licensees had to deal with multiple entities, convoluted rights issues, expensive royalty fees, and cumbersome product approval procedures, when it came to celebrity properties such as Marilyn Monroe,” said Gary Saal, director of licensing, Legends Licensing. “Legends Licensing has been formed to streamline that process, providing licensees with one-stop shopping for ‘all things Marilyn!’”

About Legends Licensing, LLC

Legends Licensing, LLC has been formed with the mission of providing a business-friendly, one-stop shop for licensees seeking the rights to a wide range of celebrities and other legendary figures. Gary Saal serves as director of licensing, and Joshua Greene is creative director. The company is headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, with offices in Florence, Oregon, and Los Angeles. Interested parties should contact Saal at 707-566-7825, Greene at 541-997-4970, or visit

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