Guilds, unions back Robyn Astaire

A group of industry guilds and unions said Thursday that they would support Robyn Astaire’s appeal of a court decision that allows a film and video company to use footage of Fred Astaire in a series of instructional dance videos.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that Best Film & Video Corp. had the right to use the footage without Robyn Astaire’s consent. State law prohibits the use of celebrity clips to promote a commercial product without permission from the estate, but the court in its 2-1 ruling said the clips could be used to promote films and other projects, including the dance videos.

Robyn Astaire said she would ask the entire court to refer the case to an 11-judge panel for a new hearing. The Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild of America, the Artists Rights Foundation, the Society of Composers and Lyricists and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers had filed an amicus brief in support of her case.

“This court failed in its ruling of June 20th to uphold Mrs. Fred Astaire’s rights in this regard,” the statement said.

The groups said “the right of an artist to protect his or her persona and reputation must be respected by both statute and precedent.”

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