Celebrity and image rights

Richard Haynes

in Media Rights and Intellectual Property

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748618804
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670994 | DOI:
Celebrity and image rights

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Image rights refer to the commercial use of someone's image, voice, likeness, name or signature. They have become a common trait of the contemporary media economy and are strongly protected and policed by leading celebrities and their agents. The concept of image rights opens up wider philosophical questions around intellectual property that have a direct impact on the political economy of the media. Despite the concept of image rights gaining purchase within the entertainment industries, there is no legislation that recognises a statutory right of an individual to control the commercial use of their image. This chapter examines the inroads into media rights that have been made by, or on behalf of, leading entertainers and sports stars. It first discusses the philosophy of image rights and trademark law providing monopoly rights to personalities. It then considers the common-law tort of ‘passing off’ and sports-star endorsement, and legal means to protect the commercial worth and privacy of celebrities.

Keywords: image rights; celebrities; media rights; sports stars; entertainers; trademark law; privacy; passing off; endorsement; intellectual property

Chapter.  5532 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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