Although no federal right of publicity exists, per se, many states have right of publicity laws that regulate how others can use the name, likeness, signature, photograph, gestures, mannerisms, or other recognizable aspects of people’s personas for commercial gain. This right allows both celebrities and non-celebrities alike to protect against the unauthorized commercial use of their image. Additionally, it allows individuals the ability to retain control of the way that they purpose their image.
The right of publicity is violated when a person’s likeness is used on or in connection with products or merchandise, or to sell or advertise goods or services without permission.
Right of Publicity Law
The right of publicity is a more recently developed area of intellectual property law and wide variations in the right exist across the different states. However, the evolving area of right of publicity law is as important as ever especially in the midst of a digital and social media revolution. Our attorneys provide strategic counsel on the development and protection of these rights.
Our attorneys can help individuals monitor and prevent the unauthorized use of their image. We can also help prevent the unauthorized impersonation of an individual, particularly online. If that unauthorized use or impersonation has already occurred, our attorneys can help bring it to a swift end. We also help clients both minimize exposure to claims for misappropriation of rights of publicity and avoid inadvertent violations. In addition, we assist with the leveraging of one’s identity through licensing and other avenues in a legally sound, controlled manner.
As a trademark law firm, our trademark lawyers can assist with advising on right of publicity legal issues. See our Trademarks service line page for additional information about right of publicity legal services.