Granddaughter wants share of Einstein estate profits
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem owns the rights to the likeness of German-born physicist Albert Einstein.
February 10th, 2011
07:54 PM ET

Granddaughter wants share of Einstein estate profits

Albert Einstein made many contributions to modern science, but it's the videos, bobblehead dolls and Halloween masks using his image that continue to generate millions of dollars long after his death. 

But his granddaughter, Evelyn, said she hasn't received a dime from the marketing and sales of Einstein merchandise, while others have profited.

"I'm outraged," said the younger Einstein, who says she is a 69-year-old cancer survivor and needs the money for health care. "It's hard for me to believe they would treat the family the way they have, which has been abysmally."

Her grandfather, the German-born physicist who formulated the general theory of relativity, bequeathed the literary rights for the more than 75,000 papers and other items in his estate to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem when he died in 1955.

The Israeli university owns the rights to his likeness, using a Los Angeles-based company called Greenlight, LLC to handle licensing for items such as Einstein apparel, mugs, puzzles, coins, posters and other collectibles.

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soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. raven

    Thats sad . Im sure he would want his family taken care of financially .Maybe he was bequeathing the KNOWLEDGE to the University, not realising how much money his likeness etc. would bring in . I hope she can get help , Im sure her treatment isnt cheap .

    February 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      It seems to me that the man's will has the right to be respected.

      He may feel that people should stand on their own accomplishments as opposed to living off of his efforts.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. pard

    I'm no rocket scientist,but it seems to me that the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has made a huge profit from Einstein.Perhaps the university should step up to the plate and do whats right... .

    February 10, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. meee

    I want an Einstein bobblehead

    February 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. chrissy

    With all the negative publicity the university is going to recieve from this it would certainly be in their best interest to comply with the grandaughters request. The right thing to do is to make her last years as best as can be.

    February 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Allen P. Wilkinson

    Were he alive today, Albert Enstein would be furious with the marletomg pf such things as bobble heads and action fitures of himself. Albert did not want to be expolited during his lifetikme. In fact he expressly stated his views on people wanting to make money off his name and endorsement when he said, “Is it not a sad commentary on the commercialism and, I must add, the corruption of our time that business firms make these offers with no thought of wanting to insult me? It evidently means that this form of corruption, for corruption it is, is widespread.” Albert would be delighted were the "literaru rights," which he willed to the Hebrew University, were used for the advancement of science and scientifid purposes. Had he been buried (his ashes were scattered in a remote area known to only a few people), he would be turning over in his grave. Albert was not monetarily interested and required only enough money to pqy the mortgage, eat well, and a small sailboat, which was his passion. The Hebrew University has, in Einstein's words, acted with corruption in exploiting his name and image,so much so that the Einstein estate brings in $10 to $18 million dollars a year in licenses and rights to use his name, pictirure, and image. There is a T-shirt available for sale that says "I'm smart as a horse and hung like Einstein." Is this any way to treat the person of the 20th Centrury? Einstein was so far ahead of his time that physicistas even today are working to verify his equations and theories. Hebrew University is using the money it receives from the Einstein royalties for god knows what reason, but their choice in licensing leaves much to be desired. Meanwhile the descendants of Albert Einstein are receiving nothing from his estate and the royalties that are brought in each year from the various (dubious and offensive) products. According to Albert's will, Hebrew University has claim to the "literary rights" or the Einstein estate, but they have a legal and moral obligation to refrain from putting out all types of products that demean the Einstein legacy, and which royalties are due to the family, not the Hebrew University,

    February 10, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • nepawoods

      bla bla bla ...

      February 13, 2011 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
    • S. Merituis


      February 22, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. Darrell Holley

    I want 40 acres and a mule too. I want reparations for my ancesters for slavery. The holocost people get justice, why not I ?

    February 11, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Donald Harmon

    Because you are a moran.

    February 11, 2011 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Spirogeek


      February 15, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Nate


      February 18, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. Berend Veenema

    What is the issue here ? Copyrights last WAY TOO LONG – and it only gets worse because of greed.

    Why should people continue to earn money for something intangible they, their parents or their GRANDPARENTS did a long, long time ago ? Why should Yoko Ono earn millions for a song her late husband spent one night to create many decades ago ? Why should patents last only 30 years or so, whereas copyrights last 80 ? (I don't know the exact figures)

    Does anyone think Einstein would have wanted his grandchildren to sit on their butts all their lives, do nothing productive, and live off the exploitation of his copyrights ?

    Why not limit all personal copyrights, to images, books, music, to a mere 40 or 50 years ? 'Cause there's money to be made, that's why... there's already a case in the Netherlands where the son of the late Olympic judo champion Anton Geesink is suing a comedian for imitating his father. His case stands no chance of course, but oops, I just gave American lawyers an idea... coming soon to a court near you !

    February 11, 2011 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
  9. Gatsby was right

    Descendants and spouses should receive the financial gain from their relative's work if that's what that person chooses during their lifetime. If you are creative or ingenious to create a product or an idea then you should have complete control over how it is developed as well as any and all profits that it might create. This woman certainly deserves something from the University, if not a share of the profits then at least a bit of compassion and care to help her out.

    February 11, 2011 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. Cesar


    February 11, 2011 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. raven

    One can look at the universe in two ways ,one as if nothing is a miracle,or two as if everything is a miracle . I paraphrased but Einstein said it . I think its lovely .

    February 11, 2011 at 5:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. Cesar

    The dust and other elements becoming planets, miracle, or not a miracle? I only wish I knew.

    February 11, 2011 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. raven

    Me too Cesar, I guess we all will know eventually . Kinda makes me nervous when I think about it too much .

    February 11, 2011 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff katz

    Has anyone asked what Hebrew U does with the money from royalties? The university is a world leader in science development. I am sure it was Einstein's intention for all the money earned from royalties to be used by a university to develop ways to save and improve life.

    February 11, 2011 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  15. leeintulsa

    Maybe he thought his family were idiots and that's why he didn't give it all to them

    February 11, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
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