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Massachusetts Senate approves celebrity protection bill

Comedian Bill Cosby at Boston University's 2014 commencement.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff.

Comedian Bill Cosby at Boston University's 2014 commencement.

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has approved a bill designed to help protect the commercial value of a celebrity’s identity after they’ve died.

The bill was approved by a voice vote in the Senate on Thursday. It gives public personalities who live in Massachusetts ‘‘the exclusive right to control the commercial use’’ of their identity during their lifetime and for 70 years after the date of their death.

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Comedian and Massachusetts resident Bill Cosby has asked state lawmakers to approve the legislation. Other states have similar laws.

A personality can be any kind of a performer or celebrity, but is defined in the bill as ‘‘an individual whose identity has commercial value.’’

Under current state law, legal protections for celebrities end with their death.

The Massachusetts House hasn’t taken up the bill yet.

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