Sophos Law Guides
Reference Material to Support Your Success.
What is a Publicity Right?
Originally rooted in the right to privacy and protected by state or common law, the right of publicity is the right to stop the unauthorized use of your name, image, or likeness. Because it is created by state law, the right’s scope and how it is enforced varies by state. In some instances, there is a specific statute that covers a right of publicity. In others, there is common law protection of similar rights. Common law means law that from court opinions, rather than law as written in statutes.
In all states, however, there is a protectable interest in your name, image, or likeness. This means that using someone’s name, image, or likeness without his or her approval anywhere within the United States is a violation of their rights.