People know that California is a place where many wealthy and famous people live. In addition to the celebrities who congregate particularly in the southern part of this state, there are many wealthy business people, including pioneers in the technology industry, who call the San Francisco area and other parts of Northern California their home.
As a previous post on this blog has discussed, California residents, whether they are famous or not, have the right to decide how their images, their voices, and even their names are used in public, particularly when it comes to a business trying to use one's characteristics to sell a product or service.
Generally speaking, a person has the right to decide for what business purposes their images can be put, and they also have the right to make a reasonable profit from the sale.
Particularly when one is a celebrity, but in other cases as well, the mis-use of one's name or image can mean more than missing out on money that rightfully belongs to a person; it can also spell personal embarrassment or even the public loss of one's reputation, which can in turn cause further financial losses.
A person can protect her image via a number of legal means. If litigation is necessary, for instance, she can ask for a court order preventing unauthorized use, as well as compensation for any damages she suffered. She may also be able to claim an automatic $750 per mis-use as well as reimbursement for attorney fees. In some cases, punitive damages are a possibility. In this respect, our law office has successfully represented Californians both well-known and not-so-well-known in protecting their images.
On the hand, sometimes the easiest way of preventing unauthorized use is simply to negotiate an agreement so that the person who wants to use the image has an explicit license, or permission, to do so. Our office can also assist in this respect.