ESPN Pins Ex-Wrestler's Suit Over Old Footage At 8th Circ.

Law360, Los Angeles (April 22, 2015, 5:39 PM EDT) -- Former pro wrestler Steve "Wild Thing" Ray can't pursue his publicity suit alleging ESPN Inc. misappropriated his likeness by airing his 1990s-era wrestling footage because his claims are preempted by the Copyright Act, the Eighth Circuit ruled Wednesday.

The appellate court upheld a Missouri federal judge's ruling dismissing Ray's state law tort claims that the footage featuring him constituted copyrighted works, saying that ESPN could retelecast the footage if the copyright holders allowed it.

"ESPN did not use Ray's likeness or name in an advertisement without his permission to promote its commercial products, and, as the district court correctly noted, Ray's...

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