Online privacy and right of publicity cases can result in financial losses and reputational damages. Such losses can have devastating consequences on individuals and families if not properly compensated. Tort law allows those individuals to seek just legal recourse through privacy lawsuits.
Although the right of publicity is commonly associated with celebrities, every person, regardless of how famous, has a right to prevent unauthorized use of their name or image to sell products. This right also prohibits any implication that a person endorses a product (without the person’s permission).
Yes. Exceptions to the right of publicity laws include protections for professional photographers against claims by their subjects, the use of an author’s name in connection with the work of that individual author, and owners of copyrights in sound recordings.
First Amendment considerations may overrule the right of publicity, particularly in artistic expression, in film or literature, or when a name is “newsworthy.”
In order for First Amendment protections to apply, there must be a reasonable connection between the person and the supposed newsworthy material. Names and photos of people appearing in books, magazines, or news articles can usually be used without permission with a reasonable connection between the individual and the material.
The privacy right is usually enforced by civil lawsuits brought in state courts, but can also be filed in federal court through a Lanham Act claim.
A Washington federal judge has recently refused to dismiss a case against Whitepages Inc. that alleges the web site unlawfully uses individuals’ names and other identifying characteristics to entice visitors to their site.
Legal remedies to privacy cases may include an injunction mandating the removal of the content, as well as punitive damages based on the value of the business held accountable.
Joe Lyon has over fifteen years of experience, and regularly files class action and invasion of privacy cases for plaintiffs nationwide. Call The Firm for a free consultation and to discuss your legal options.
Pre-Suit Investigation and Negotiations:
Right of Publicity lawsuits are unique and require a thorough investigation before a lawsuit is filed. An initial investigation involves gathering all relevant information. Preservation letters are drafted to notify the defendant of the case. The duty to preserve electronic evidence is critical in most cases to prevent spoliation.
Filing a Privacy Lawsuit in Cincinnati: If pre-suit negotiations are unsuccessful, then a lawsuit must be filed to preserve the statute of limitations. Filing a lawsuit early in the process is often necessary to begin gathering evidence while the witnesses memories are fresh and documents remain available.
Once a privacy suit is filed by your attorney, the court will set a case management schedule and the parties will begin exchanging information in the formal process of discovery. Depositions will be taken to preserve testimony for trial and to understand what certain witnesses are likely to say at trial.
Proving Negligence, Causation and Damages: In addition to lay witness testimony and other documentary evidence and privacy claims rely upon evidence to prove negligence, causation and damages.
Yes. An action following a right of publicity violation must be brought within four years of a violation.
Currently, 24 states, including Ohio, have a right of publicity statute.
Yes, the law makes personal identities property, and may be descendible. Like other intellectual property rights, the owner of the right of publicity can exclude others from using the property.
The Ohio right of publicity statute protects living and deceased natural persons for the duration of a person’s lifetime plus 60 years. In addition to the 60-year post-mortem protection, the Ohio right of publicity statute specifically prohibits the unauthorized use of the persona of a deceased member of the Ohio National Guard or the U.S. armed forces for ten years after the date of death.
When a business or website uses your image or likeness without your prior consent or permission, you may have a claim for misappropriation of likeness.