Palm Springs, Newport Beach and Malibu California Publicity and Privacy Rights Lawyer on the Right to Control the Use of Your Image and Likeness

By admin1 • February 23rd, 2011

Whether you are a star in the California entertainment industry in Hollywood, Malibu, Los Angeles, Venice or Santa Monica, or are a sports figure and live in San Diego, the Newport Coast, Crystal Cove or Laguna Beach in Orange County, or Palm Springs, Anaheim, or Temecula or for any other reason you have become famous even for fifteen minutes of fame and live in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, San Clemente, Beverly Hills or Indian Wells, CA, you may have need of a publicity rights and privacy rights attorney when others try to make money using your image. 


As any celebrity or personality knows, the right of publicity in California is the right of anyone to control the commercial use of their identity. It is your personal right. Others may attempt to misappropriate it for commercial gain and if they do, you can seek damages. If you are dead and your image is misappropriated, your estate can seek damages.


All that needs to be proven are the use of your identity, that is, the use of your name or likeness, the defendant’s advantage in using it, your lack of consent and injury. (Note, this is different from identity theft where a person uses your identity in a criminal manner to obtain credit in your name or empty your bank accounts and the like).


The basis for this right of publicity is the idea that every person should have the right to control how their identity or likeness or personality, or voice, name or image is commercialized by others.


Because the right is a property right, the right may be passed on to one’s heirs after death. The Celebrities Rights Act passed in California in 1985 extended the personality rights for a celebrity to 70 years after their death.


Note, however, that in 2007, a New York judge who ruled that Marilyn Monroe was a resident of New York and not California, also ruled that Marilyn Monroe’s rights of publicity ended upon her death.


The right of privacy is often pitted against competing First Amendment claims or claims of copyright. Each case is different and it is often necessary for an attorney to weigh these competing rights based on case law just and to attempt to predict how a judge would rule in that jurisdiction.


Examples of competing rights occur when a person’s image is contained in the copyrighted work of another. The results can differ depending on the type of copyrighted work, and a determination must be made as to whether the individual’s right has been preempted.


In First Amendment cases, the courts in California have favored First Amendment Claims over Publicity Rights Claims where the court has been able to find transformative elements, that is where the defendant is not merely trading on the value of the identity or image.


Publicity rights are often used interchangeably as privacy rights. However privacy rights often involve torts such as defamation or violations of state statutes involving the unauthorized use of data.


If someone tries to make use of your image or likeness for their gain without your consent, speak with a publicity and privacy rights lawyer immediately. 


If you have a publicity or privacy rights law issue in San Diego, Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange County, La Jolla, in the Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Palm Springs or anywhere in Southern California, we have the knowledge and resources to be your Palm Springs Privacy Rights Lawyer and your Palm Desert and Malibu Publicity Rights Attorney. Be sure to hire a California law firm with publicity and privacy rights law experience who can serve areas such as Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Anaheim, Irvine, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Newport Beach, Beverly Hills, Carlsbad, Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Fullerton, Del Mar, San Diego, Orange County, San Luis Obispo, Buena Park, La Jolla, Oxnard, Ventura, La Quinta, and Santa Barbara so you are properly represented and get the compensation you deserve.


If you have a publicity or privacy rights law issue of any kind, call the Law Offices of R. Sebastian Gibson, or visit our website at  and learn how we can assist you.

R. Sebastian Gibson


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  • It used to be said that the only guarantees in life are death and taxes. Add that picture your friend took of you last week and posted it on MySpace! It’ll be there forever. –Laura Betterly

  • There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary. Brendan Behan

  • Publicity is the life of this culture – in so far as without publicity capitalism could not survive – and at the same time publicity is its dream. John Berger

  • Ninety eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hardworking, honest Americans. It’s the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them. Lily Tomlin

  • Without publicity there can be no public support, and without public support every nation must decay. Benjamin Disraeli

  • Of course I’m a publicity hound. Aren’t all crusaders? How can you accomplish anything unless people know what you are trying to do? Vivien Kellems