What Is Right of Publicity?
Many celebrities and others with prominent public persons have pursued lawsuits for damages regarding violations of this right. However, what is this right? Fundamentally, it comes down to the notion that all individuals have the right to control and authorize the promotional use of their name and/or identity. The right protects an individual’s name, likeness, and identity. These can be in the misappropriated forms of a signature, name, voice, or even photograph. Furthermore, the individual’s likeness must be clearly identifiable and used purposefully for exploitative or commercial purposes.
Possible Violations Of Right Of Publicity
When an individual’s right is violated, this results in an intrusion of privacy and can falsely portray them to the public.
Furthermore, this is not just a right reserved for celebrities – everyone has the right to protect their name and identity.
Most often, photographs that are posted online are used by marketing agencies or corporations for commercial purposes. These photos of ordinary people can be used to advertise for a product or an event without their consent. In a majority of cases, these ads do not reflect the views of the people pictured, but now without their authority, they are being associated with a specific commodity or activity.
Many celebrities have their right of publicity violated on a constant basis. Their hospital records containing their names are released to tabloids in exchange for money, private photos leaked, and their names linked to fictitious rumors.
Penalties For Violations Of Right Of Publicity
If an individual can prove their name, likeness or identity has been exploited for commercial purposes without their authority, they can then seek damages under common law and statute right of publicity. The damages awarded are based on the actual damages the plaintiff has suffered, which includes financial harm and perceived damages to their future earnings and public persona.