Rights of Privacy and Publicty
The unauthorized commercial use of a person’s name, voice, photograph, or other likeness for the purpose of advertising or selling products or services implicates that person’s right of publicity. The scope of the right of publicity varies from state to state, and has included the unauthorized use of baseball players’ names on trading cards. , the unauthorized likeness of Elvis Presley on a poster, the use of look-alike models, and imitations of characters created by performers or of their distinctive entertainment styles.
Publicity rights do not endure indefinitely beyond the celebrity’s demise. The more restrictive states, such as New York and Nebraska, do not recognize a post mortem right of publicity at all. The more descendible publicity rights for a specific number of years after the celebrity’s death. In Oklahoma, for example, a right of publicity for deceased personalities endures for 100 years post mortem.