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California Upgrades Tool for Searching Deceased Celebrities' Intellectual Property Filings

The upgraded "Successor-In-Interest" search tool provides faster, easier access to filings with the Secretary of State’s office.

Celebrities and e-government are not two subjects you often hear in the same sentence, with rare exceptions.   

The California Secretary of State's Office on Tuesday announced upgrades to an online search engine for "successor-in-interest" filings — claim records for using intellectual property of a deceased celebrity or personality.

The Successor-In-Interest search application was designed, developed and implemented by the Secretary of State in-house IT staff in partnership with its Business Programs Division, the office told Techwire, a publication of e.Republic, Government Techology's parent company.

“The upgraded Successor-In-Interest search tool provides faster, easier access to filings with the Secretary of State’s office,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement. “Real-time posting of filings and downloadable document images improves transparency and the customer experience.”

Successor-in-interest claims are required from anyone seeking to use a deceased celebrity or personality’s name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness for commercial purposes.

California's new application is searchable by the celebrity's known or legal name. Search results return file numbers, death date, claimant name and address, percentage interest claimed, and an image of the physical filing.

Here's an example search return for a claim linked to a late iconic musician: