Robin Williams Trust Restricts use of comedian’s likeness for 25 years

Robin Williams special will air on PBSWhile absolutely everyone is still mourning the hell out of Robin Williams, this bit of news is perhaps the one instance where fans might feel relieved that they won’t be seeing more of the comedian any time soon. As reported earlier last week, it was revealed that the Robin Williams Trust has imposed very strict control over the likeness rights of the beloved late comedian and actor. Specifically, no commercial enterprise will be able to use Williams’ image or voice to hawk products for at least the next 25 years.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, the terms of Williams’ trust are set up thus:

The Trust restricts exploitation of Robin Williams’ right of publicity for 25 years after his death. That means, there won’t be any authorized advertisements featuring Williams until at least August 11, 2039. The provision also interferes with someone immediately doing, say, a hologram of a Robin Williams stand-up routine or digitally inserting him into a new film.

While performers will often draw up the paperwork to control their likenesses after death, a total blackout period on usage is very unusual. It seems that the quarter century time stamp is meant to prevent any future media platforms from exploiting Williams’ image, aside from those usually specified (TV, radio, performing hologram) in such documents. It’s also undoubtedly a protection against the actor’s likeness being used to harm or manipulate his loved ones in any way. Well done, Robin. We can’t wait to see you again, but only on your own terms.

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Emma Kat Richardson

Emma Kat Richardson is a Detroit native and freelance writer living in Austin, Texas. Her work has appeared in, Bitch, Alternative Press, Real Detroit Weekly, 944, and She’s enough of a comedy nerd and cat lady to have named her Maine Coon Michael Ian Cat. Follow her on twitter: @emmakat.

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