Right of Publicity
I began to define the Right of Publicity by exploring what it is not, but it merits further definition to fully understand what it is.
The right of Publicity is the right of an individual to control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness or other clear aspects of his or her identity. It is generally considered a property right as opposed to a personal right. The laws governing it are state based and change from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Depending on the jurisdiction, these rights may pass to the estate of a celebrity after the death of the individual.
The majority of Right of Publicity laws are judge-made laws, though in some areas it may be statutory. Although in I will be examining celebrity cases, it should be noted that these right apply to any person.
One of the most interesting things about the Right of Publicity, is how the definitions of what it protects have evolved with case law.