A new right of publicity law, the Allen Toussaint Legacy Act, goes into effect in Louisiana on August 1, 2022.  The Act, named for the eponymous New Orleans pianist, was signed into law on June 15, 2022 and protects an individual's right of publicity even after the individual is deceased.  Until now, the name, image and likeness of deceased musicians, performers and others could be commercialized in Louisiana without the consent of (or any benefits owing to) their respective estates.

Specifically, the law prohibits commercial use in Louisiana of an individual's identity without consent for a period of 50 years after an individual's death (or sooner if not used for 3 years following death) - except that the publicity right with respect to a performance in audiovisual works expires on the person's death.  It applies to anyone domiciled in Louisiana or who was domiciled in Louisiana at time of death.  It is also subject to fair use, first amendment and other exceptions.

Interestingly, similar to New York's right of publicity statute enacted last year, the Louisiana law expressly addresses the use of "digital replicas."  Here, a "digital replica" means a computer-generated production of a professional performer's likeness or voice that is so realistic as to be indistinguishable from the actual likeness or voice of the professional performer.  The unauthorized use of "digital replicas" is prohibited in a public performance of a scripted audiovisual work, or in a live performance of a dramatic work, if it creates the clear impression that the professional performer is actually performing in the role of a fictional character.  (Think, for example, the unauthorized use of a hologram of a deceased performer.) 

More generally, this is a good reminder that in approximately half of the states in the U.S., the use of a person's name, image or likeness for commercial purposes requires consent even if the person is no longer alive. In these states, if you are considering referencing a late celebrity in advertising or marketing, for example, it is still necessary to be sure that you are obtaining appropriate publicity rights.