In California, the Right of Publicity protects against unauthorized uses of a person’s name or likeness for commercial and certain other exploitative purposes. Such protection is governed by both statutory and common law rights.
California Civil Code § 3344, protects a person’s:name, voice, signature, photograph, and likeness.
Specifically, the statute prohibits “knowing” use of a person’s name/likeness/etc.,
on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of, products, merchandise, goods or services, without such person’s prior consent[.] (Cal. Civ. Code § 3344(a))
The mere fact that a person’s likeness is used in connection with a commercial product or service does not violate the statute. Rather, the statute focuses specifically on advertising uses of a person’s likeness:
[I]t shall be a question of fact whether or not the use of the person’s name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness was so directly connected with the commercial sponsorship or with the paid advertising as to constitute a use for which consent is required[.] (Cal. Civ. Code § 3344(e))
At LOPK, we assist clients in seeking redress for the unauthorized use of their right of publicity in connection with products and services. We also help emerging artists understand the value in protecting their image both now and in the future including guarding against unknowingly signing over their rights for the use of photographs in stock photo collections which can be used for all purposes without recourse by the uninformed creative artist.
We invite you to call or email us if you’d like to discuss how we can assist you in protecting against the unauthorized use of your name and likeness and to ensure the proper compensation if your name, image or likeness is used as part of an industry branding campaign.