The Sixth Circuit has denied Tiger Woods’ appeal of a decision dismissing his trademark and right of publicity claims against an artist who had included Woods’ image in a lithograph entitled “Masters of Augusta” (above).  In pertinent part:

” . . .we find that Rush’s work does contain significant transformative elements which make it especially worthy of First Amendment protection and also less likely to interfere with the economic interest protected by Woods’ right of publicity. Unlike the unadorned, nearly photographic reproduction of the faces of The Three Stooges in Comedy III, Rush’s work does not capitalize solely on a literal depiction of Woods. Rather, Rush’s work consists of a collage of images in addition to Woods’s image which are combined to describe, in artistic form, a historic event in sports history and to convey a message about the significance of Woods’s achievement in that event. Because Rush’s work has substantial transformative elements, it is entitled to the full protection of the First Amendment. In this case, we find that Woods’s right of publicity must yield to the First Amendment.”

ETW Corporation v. Jireh Publishing, No. 00-3584 (6th Cir. June 20, 2003)