IMAGE RIGHTS OF FAMOUS PERSONS VIS-À-VIS RIGHT TO PRIVACY: AN ANALYSIS UNDER THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAWS IN INDIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES
Emerging as an interesting legal trend in India, Publicity or Personality rights of celebrities are contributing to the development of Indian Entertainment law, thereby establishing the need for legal scholars and academics to study the implications of these unique rights.
Publicity Rights have their origins in other common law jurisdictions and arose in response to the presence and influence of the cinema industry. Primarily derived from the right of privacy, publicity rights in India have arisen mainly out of judicial precedents related to unauthorized usage of the various aspects of the celebrity persona, whose appearance or likeness have been unduly exploited for commercial gain by advertisers and brands alike. Unfortunately, the current Indian intellectual property regime seems insufficiently equipped to deal with this issue and its consequences. Judicial decisions in this area have been sporadic, leading towards the need to develop more lucid statutory language for enforcing this right and possibly, a distinct regime of publicity rights. With the ever increasing recognition afforded to publicity rights in courts across jurisdictions, the author aims to focus on answering some of the above mentioned questions with the hope that they will culminate in a response to address the question of whether we need a separate rights regime for publicity rights or whether the existing legal infrastructure proves sufficient. The author concludes that Indian approach to publicity rights is constitutional rather than commercial, and, similar to more developed jurisdictions such as U.S., a dual approach needs to be adopted for better enforcement of publicity rights. There is therefore, an urgent need to recognize persona as a commercial rather than right of human dignity.