As a creative professional, your work is not just a product; it’s your intellectual property, your art, and your livelihood. Protecting your creative assets is essential, and this goes beyond copyrights and trademarks. The thing is, there’s one crucial area of the law that often gets overlooked but can make a world of a difference.
So what are we talking about?
The Right of Publicity and The Right of Privacy.
In this blog, we’ll explore these often underestimated legal rights, simplifying them so that creative professionals like you can understand how they apply to your work and why they’re crucial. We’ll also discuss the significance of working with an attorney licensed in your state to navigate the intricate legal matters related to these rights.
Because at the end of the day, your creative work is more than a passion; it’s your profession, and ensuring it’s legally safeguarded is a step towards securing your creative future.
Privacy and Publicity Law 101
So what are these commonly overlooked laws?
The Right of Privacy was created to safeguard our personal lives and keep us safe from four main things:
- Intrusion into private life, which can happen physically or through electronic means
- Disclosure of private facts, like personal information
- Depiction in a false light, which doesn’t necessarily have to be false but mislead the public in some way
- Misappropriation of name, image, and likeness.
These laws are important because they help prevent personal harm and keep our private lives safe. If someone wants to make a movie or show based on real people, they often need those people’s permission to avoid legal trouble.
We’ll dive more into this in the “How to protect your right…” section below, so you have the knowledge you need.
On the other hand, The Right of Publicity is more about protecting our public identity, like our name, image, or even our voice. These rights can be passed on to our heirs and can even increase in value over time.
Publicity rights come into play when someone tries to make money using our identity without our permission. For everyday people, this usually involves using our image to sell products or services without asking.
But, when it comes to famous people like celebrities or politicians, their public identity holds extra value. Movies or shows that depict them are often protected under free speech laws, as long as they’re not spreading false information or invading their privacy.
In simpler terms, both Privacy and Publicity Rights give us control over how our name, image, and likeness are used, but they have different purposes and apply in various situations.
But it’s important to remember that these rights are a matter of state law, not federal, which means that they can vary significantly from one state to another.
How to Protect Your Right of Privacy and Publicity
Now that we’ve discussed the basics, let’s look at what the four key aspects of the Right of Privacy include from a legal perspective to protect you:
- Unwarranted Publicity: Keep an eye on how your name, image, and personal information are being used. You have the right to control how they are publicized.
- Unwarranted Appropriation of Personality: Ensure that your identity is not exploited for profit without your explicit consent.
- Publicizing Private Affairs: Keep your personal life private unless there’s a compelling public interest.
- Wrongful Intrusion into Private Activities: Protect your personal life from unwanted intrusion without a valid reason.
Since these rights are a matter of state law, it’s crucial to consider the implications for your heirs. Where you die matters, as it can affect your heirs’ rights to your name, image, and likeness. We’ll talk more about it later on.
Legal Issues with Publicizing Private Affairs
While the Right of Publicity enables the commercialization of your name, image, and likeness, it also introduces potential legal issues when dealing with private matters. This is especially relevant in industries like sports and digital entertainment.
Athletes often license their names and likenesses for endorsements and digital products. However, the complexities and state-specific nature of this area of law make it essential to have legal guidance. The variation in laws across different states underlines the importance of working with an attorney licensed in your state.
Importance of Location in Right of Privacy Cases
It might seem a bit unusual because, let’s face it, choosing where you’d like to leave your creative legacy isn’t an everyday topic.
But understanding the impact of your state of residence or death on the Right of Publicity is vital. Different states handle these rights differently, which can affect your heirs’ because the worst case is that they don’t get to license your rights and lose your income stream forever.
For example, Marilyn Monroe is the seminal case of someone who was litigated, and it was decided that she died in New York, and her heirs didn’t have a right of publicity at the time. The same thing happened with Elvis Presley’s estate, which faced legal challenges and lost the right of publicity due to differing state laws.
The lesson here is that where you die can have a significant impact on your Right of Publicity, and it’s essential to navigate these complexities with legal guidance. You see, understanding the role of state law in your creative business is pivotal to safeguarding your assets.
State Laws in a Complex Legal World
Your awareness of the nuances of state-specific laws is crucial, and we can’t emphasize this enough. To safeguard your creative work and prevent disputes, it’s vital to be well-prepared.
That’s where the role of an attorney licensed in your state becomes key. The Right of Publicity and the Right of Privacy are both deeply intertwined with state laws. Thus, having the right legal support is indispensable, to unravel the complexity. The legal intricacies can be challenging, but an experienced attorney, such as Attorney Morin who is licensed for Georgia State only, can truly make a difference in protecting your creative endeavors.
Note: Please go with a licensed attorney in your specific state.
Now that you are knowledgeable of the Right of Publicity and the Right of Privacy, see that these rights are more than legalities; they are the cornerstones of creative asset protection.
Your creative business is your livelihood, and knowing how to protect your name, image, and likeness is a fundamental part of your success. As a creative professional, you should take action now, seek expert assistance, and navigate the complex legal aspects of the creative industry with confidence.
We encourage you to be diligent in selecting a legal representation license in your specific state. Your work is unique, and so are the legal intricacies surrounding it. Take the first step towards safeguarding your creative future today.
And if you’re based in the state of Georgia and ready to safeguard your creative endeavors. Book a 15-minute courtesy call with Attorney Morin by dialing +1 (404) 800-5568.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Consult with your state-specific attorney for personalized legal guidance regarding your specific case-by-case situation.