- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The family of legendary former Razorbacks coach Frank Broyles wants a new state law to create publicity rights allowing public figures more control over how their likenesses are used.

A bill introduced Tuesday by two northwest Arkansas lawmakers would give state residents control over how their names, voices, signatures or likenesses were used in a commercial way. The bill would also let people will their publicity rights to heirs for at least 10 years after their death.

With the 90-year-old Broyles leaving the University of Arkansas’ Razorback Foundation last year, concerns arose that vendors might try to use his name or image without his permission, said one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville.

About 20 states have passed laws establishing a right of publicity, though courts in some other states have recognized publicity rights. States with publicity laws vary on how long those rights exist after a person dies.

Meredith Lowry, an attorney for the Broyles family working on the bill, said the former coach was approached after his retirement from the Razorback Foundation by people who wanted his endorsement on a variety of goods.

“There is the potential that someone could put out a T-shirt … without alerting the family, and that was a concern,” she said.

The bill would make it a misdemeanor crime to use someone’s likeness without his or her permission. It also allows property rights holders to sue alleged violators for damages. The bill includes an exemption for news media use.

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