Entertainment Agreements, Image and Likeness

CA Entertainment Lawyer Fights Unauthorized Use of Images and Likenesses

Help for private individuals and celebrities victimized by commercialization

California law protects private individuals and celebrities (living or deceased) from unauthorized commercial use of their names and likenesses in connection with the sale of merchandise. If a person or company has misappropriated your name or likeness for a commercial purpose, Fergus, A Law Office can help. I have represented numerous entertainment law clients where their likeness was used without permission.  If you believe you’ve been wronged, I can evaluate your case and determine the best course for seeking a remedy.

Understanding your rights to your name and likeness under California law

Whether you’re a private individual or a celebrity, your name and likeness is a precious commodity. If anyone derives a profit from your image, it should be you! Unfortunately, unauthorized use does occur, which can cause you embarrassment, humiliation or loss in the commercial value of your name and likeness. I can help you fight unauthorized use and seek an appropriate remedy, such as:

  • Court injunction — One remedy to consider is the extraordinary grant of an immediate order from the court that the breaching party stop the offending behavior. This may be in the form of an injunction forbidding the infringing use until the matter can be decided either preliminary or on the merits.   Courts can issue temporary restraining orders if the court finds that plaintiff has a likelihood of success on the merits; there is a likelihood of irreparable harm to the plaintiff in the absence of preliminary relief; the balance of equities tips in the plaintiff’s favor; and that an injunction is in the public interest. Obtaining an injunction does not preclude you from seeking damages.
  • Statutory damages — California law in 2015 allows you to sue for the greater of  $750 in damages for each unauthorized use or actual damages.
  • Actual damages — You are entitled to recover your actual damages suffered as a result of the unauthorized use and any profits from the unauthorized use not taken into account in your actual damage calculation.
  • Punitive damages – In appropriate cases, punitive damages may be awarded.
  • Prevailing Party Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses –The prevailing party may be awarded attorneys’ fees and expenses.
  • Licensing agreement — You can negotiate to license your image for commercial use at a fair price. This can be a mutually profitable arrangement that makes both sides happy.

I have the skills and experience necessary to help you protect your name and likeness.

Not every unauthorized use is actionable

The law contains numerous exceptions for the unauthorized use of names and likenesses in television, movies, newspapers, original works of art, satire, newsworthy commentary, and dramatic, literary or musical works and advertisements. Celebrities who are newsworthy per se have unique issues they face just because of their notoriety.  This is precisely why you need an experienced entertainment law attorney who understands these issues and has a proven record of success.

Experience protecting the rights of individuals and celebrities

In my practice, I have represented minors, celebrities and representatives of deceased celebrities to protect against the unauthorized use of their names or likenesses. For example, I have successfully represented the widow of Fred “Rerun” Berry, star of the sitcom “What’s Happening!” from unauthorized use of his name and likeness.

Reclaim the right to your name and likeness. Call Fergus today!

If you are the victim of unauthorized use of your name or likeness, Fergus, A Law Office, has the knowledge and experience to help. Call me today at 415.537.9030 or contact my office online. My office is conveniently located in downtown San Francisco.