“Milton H. Greene Archives Inc. has been in a long-running court battle with Anna Strasberg, widow of Monroe’s acting coach, Lee Strasberg, and her licensing agent CMG Worldwide, which have controlled use of Monroe’s image for years.
In a ruling on Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California backed a lower court decision that allowed Greene Archives to license its images of Monroe.
The legal battle over Greene’s images hinged on where Monroe was living at the time of her death on August 5, 1962. The court ruled Monroe resided in New York and therefore she did not have the posthumous right of publicity based on the state’s law.
‘Because no such right exists under New York law, Monroe LLC did not inherit it … and cannot enforce it against Milton Greene or others similarly situated,’ Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote for the court.
Wardlaw wrote that the lengthy dispute over Monroe’s persona ‘has ended in exactly the way that Monroe herself predicted more that 50 years ago,’ pointing to Monroe’s quote: ‘I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful, but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.'”