Lawrence G. Townsend Intellectual Property Lawyer
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August 2017 Archives

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

Right of publicity waiver: looking at the issue of consent, P.2

Previously, we began looking at the topic of consent in the context of the right of publicity. As we noted, individuals may waive their publicity rights, allowing another party to make use of their image for commercial purposes.

Someone used my work online without my permission. Now what?


Someone used my work online without my permission. Now what?

In this age of the internet, when even grade school children have instant access to the world online, it seems quite normal for people to share images and words from screen to screen at the touch of a button. It only takes a tap or two to copy articles, download photos and otherwise make use of the vast abundance of material on the Web.

Right of publicity waiver: looking at the issue of consent, P.1

California, like other states, protects the right of individuals to control the use of their image in certain contexts. Under California's right of publicity statute, violation of an individual's right to control the use of his or her name, voice, photograph, signature, or likeness applies under three conditions.

When copyright protection and publicity rights are at odds, P.3

In recent posts, we've been looking at the intersection of publicity rights and federal copyright protection. As we've noted, an important issue in this area is when federal copyright law takes precedence over state-law rights of publicity. Courts have enforced publicity rights in photographs over and against federal copyright protection when the images are used for advertising or the sale of products. A recent case from Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, declined to enforce publicity rights in the context of commercial licensing of copyrighted images.

When copyright protection and publicity rights are at odds, P.2

Last time, we began looking at the question of how publicity rights and copyright protection are addressed when there is a conflict between the two. As we noted, publicity rights are generally held to be applicable when a photograph of an individual is used for advertising or commercial purposes but, as between publicity rights and copryright,  it isn't always intuitive whether one or both will be applicable.

When copyright protection and publicity rights are at odds

Last time, we looked very briefly at some general points about copyright protection and its importance for authors and artists. One area where copyright protection can get dicey is with photography. While a photographer may have rights to a photograph under copyright law, the subject or subjects of the photograph also have privacy and publicity rights over their personal likenesses under state law.

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