The Right to Publicity – What Does it Protect?
Anyone who has watched the news, seen the National Enquirer, or surfed the internet knows that the likenesses, photographs and endorsements of celebrities are used constantly in effort to sell various products to the masses. Usually, the celebrities whose name and images are used for that purpose have agreed to the use and, as a general rule, have been paid handsomely for that use. California, being the home of the movie industry, has long had a common law right of publicity, meaning that one using another’s likeness, name, voice, and signature, among other things, without the consent of the other is committing a tort, creating a liability to compensate for that use. Today, in addition to the common law right of publicity, California has codified the right to publicity in California Civil Code Sections 3344 and 3344.1.
Section 3344 provides: “
If you believe your name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness has been used without your consent, you need to seek the services of an experienced lawyer to help you understand the law and determine whether you are entitled to damages for that use. Michael Leonard, Esq. of San Diego Corporate Law can assist you with determining whether you may have a claim for that use. To schedule a consultation with Mr. Leonard to discuss your right to publicity, or to discuss any other business-related matter, you can contact him by visiting San Diego Corporate Law or by telephone at (858) 483-9200.