Dean estate drops Twitter lawsuit

Posted on December 30, 2014


The estate of an iconic 1950s actor has dropped a legal complaint that it had against a leading social media company.

The organisation that governs James Dean’s estate had brought the suit against Twitter after it allowed users to set up accounts using the actor’s name and likeness.

With online verification being an important issue for social media patrons, especially businesses and celebrities, the Dean estate was worried that followers would mistake the accounts for officially sanctioned ones.

This is especially the case for an @JamesDean profile, which has since been reportedly taken down.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court serving the southern district for the state of Indiana, which is where the Hollywood star was born in 1931. It was dropped “without prejudice”, which would allow for the estate to refile charges in the future.

While the licensing agency representative for the Dean estate, Mark Roesler of CMG Worldwide, concluded that the complaints had been concluded to the organisation’s “satisfaction”, at least for the moment, the case did highlight a problem with social media for the US court.

According to legal guidelines, the targets of such suits would have to be formally notified of any action that is being brought against them. However, as the owner of the @JamesDean account – who was posting to news feeds about their love for Dean’s acting – could not be identified, it meant that the complaint could not be served.

Despite his early passing in 1955 at the age of 24, Dean is still a household name. In fact, Forbes placed the actor in 10th place on its highest-earning dead celebrity list, having earned $7m (£4.5m) during 2014.

When he’s not editing web copy and news articles at work, Web Content Editor Tom sates his love for the written word by losing himself in a good book.
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