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What Is Right of Publicity?

The use of celebrities—their names, images, or anything identity related—in endorsing or promoting products or services is becoming a frequent problem since most of these celebrities are not informed that they are being used by such companies. These companies often take advantage of whatever available media there is regarding a celebrity, and use it in a manner that benefits the company. This is considered to be a violation of right of publicity.

Many people nowadays buy goods or services based on the fact that well-known people also buy the same goods or services. Thus, when a celebrity is attached to a certain product or service, it is done so in order to market the product to consumers. However, it is possible that photos, videos, or other media are used without the consent or knowledge of such famous people. Thus, the consumers are misled to believe that such celebrities buy these goods or services when in reality they do not. When this happens, the person whose image, name, or identity is used to market the product or service can sue the company by virtue of the Right of Publicity Act. It is necessary that the person prove that his or her identity was used for commercial profit may prove to be detrimental to the person’s commercial value.

This type of infringement usually happens to celebrities or well-known individuals. However, anyone can whose identity has been used for commercial purposes without consent or knowledge may sue on the grounds of right of publicity.

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