Rosa Parks became a celebrated figure in America by refusing to move to the back of the bus. She did not like other people profiting off of her celebrity and was known to be litigious when her name was used. Her estate has continued suing and recently lost an important case.
Every child in America learns about Rosa Parks. Her refusal to sit at the back of a bus helped spark the civil rights movement that ushered in the end of Jim Crow laws in the United States. Her story continues to inspire others to stand up for what they believe in.
Parks, however, did not appreciate other people using her name or image for commercial purposes.
She famously sued the band Outkast for referencing her in a song. Since she passed away, her estate has continued her policy and has sued those they believe have inappropriately used Parks' name. The latest lawsuit was against the retailer Target for selling books and copies of a movie about Parks.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Parks' estate has lost the suit in Federal Appeals Court. The article is entitled "Rosa Parks Heirs Lose Legal Battle Over Movie, Books Sold at Target."
The court ruled that, since Parks was a figure of historical significance, free speech rights to discuss history trump her estate's publicity rights to her name and story.
This is an example of an estate most likely doing the right thing and treating a deceased's rights as she would have treated them.
On the other hand, the outcome in this case will likely give the estate pause and cause it to choose when it sues more carefully so those who would discuss this important historical figure are not silenced.
Reference: The Hollywood Reporter (Jan. 4, 2016) "Rosa Parks Heirs Lose Legal Battle Over Movie, Books Sold at Target."