Right of Publicity

In a nutshell: Right of Publicity involves your right as an individual to control the use of your own name and likeness for marketable and other forms of commercial gain.

Remember that ‘ol cliché we used to spout in passing: she’s talented enough to be on a Wheaties box. The kicker is, in today's world of celebrities and luminaries, there’s potential serious bank associated with that declaration.

Back in 1977, Caitlyn (the artist formerly known as “Bruce”) Jenner decided to capitalize on her Gold Medal, American hero status by entering into an endorsement deal with the aforementioned General Mills breakfast cereal. And capitalize she did. But while Jenner certainly cultivated the endorsement curriculum, a certain Michael Jeffrey Jordan revolutionized it.

Jordan signed a record-setting $500k deal with Nike back in 1984, and has been reaping the fiscal benefits ever since. Let’s put it in perspective: during his 15 NBA playing years with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, MJ earned a modest $94 million.

Jordan’s take from Nike and their affiliates in 2015 alone: $100 million.

To further prove the prominence of Jordan’s likeness: as recently as August of 2015, a federal court awarded the Air King $8.9 million from a Dickenson’s food store chain using Jordan’s identity for a commercial purpose without his permission. Make no mistake, the Jordan brand is a fiscal juggernaut.

So if you’re famous – or think you are – and someone is peddling your likeness (photograph, film, name, voice, signature) for commercial or mercantile gain, give us a shout.

Infringement on publicity rights is also actionable if you’re dead. Obviously, alive is a lot more fun.

Setterberg Law Office