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Monday, June 04, 2007

He Won't Be a Bad Guy Until 2034

Jeff Scalf's grandmother was the half-sister of John Dillinger, which gives him the right to require anyone who uses the Dillinger name to pay up and portray the murderous gangster law-abiding citizen in a positive light.

"They all have to sign a clause stating that they won't present him as a murderer, cop killer or vicious or mean-spirited," he says. "It's fair to say that he was accused of one killing but was never convicted."

Under a 1994 Indiana law, Scalf and other family members control rights to Dillinger's name and portrayal for 100 years after his death, says Jonathan Polak, an Indianapolis lawyer representing Scalf. Just because Dillinger — and Marilyn Monroe and Rosa Parks, whom he also has represented — are dead, Polak says, "doesn't mean they are suddenly thrown into the public domain. … You're stealing a piece of property." [Link]

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