The music world has been buzzing ever since the surprise appearance of Tupac Shukar — well, that is, a digitally-created 3-D image of Tupac — on stage to rap at the Coachella music festival in California. Some have described this as creepy, like seeing a ghost. Is this going to be a new trend for celebrity estates? Should it be?
First, there is the issue of legality. Was it legal for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg to bring Tupac’s image on stage? Because this was a use of Tupac’s image and likeness for commercial purposes, only the holder of the “right of publicity” for Tupac could authorize it. That right is owned by Tupac’s estate, under the control of the executor — his mother, Afeni Shakur.
Reportedly, she not only authorized it, but was thrilled with the outcome. Dr. Dre repaid the estate for this permission with a contribution to the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which is Tupac’s charity.