Rights of publicity are being exploited, enforced and protected more frequently than ever. Rights of publicity protect against the unauthorized use of an individual’s name and likeness, and may be protected through rights of publicity law, trademark law or copyright law. These rights factor prominently in the pervasive athlete and celebrity endorsement deals evidenced across numerous forms of media.
Roughly half of the states have some right of publicity law. When celebrities have had their names, images and likenesses used without authorization in the past, finders of fact have awarded them significant compensation. Examples include model Russell Christoff, who was awarded $15.6 million for the use of his image on Taster’s Choice® coffee labels, and hockey player Tony Twist, who was awarded $15 million in damages when comic book author Todd McFarlane used his name without authorization.
With the rise in litigation involving rights of publicity issues, there is an increasing need for qualified experts to calculate the fair market value for the unauthorized use of a celebrity’s name, image and / or likeness. With our celebrity endorsement and licensing experience and a practical understanding of the complexities involved in calculating damages in these cases, the professionals at CONSOR Intellectual Asset Management are a natural fit for this niche.