With our ever-expanding digitized world it may seem like our privacy is going by the wayside. While that may be true to a certain extent, there are still laws in place that can protect individuals’ likenesses from being misappropriated for financial gain. However, these protections are not self-effectuating. Instead, individuals need to take active efforts to ensure they are protecting their right to utilize their likeness and personality.
A recently filed case helps illustrate this issue. There, famed rapper Cardi B is accused of using a using a man’s likeness on her album cover without his consent. The cover of the photo album shows a man with a distinctive tattoo on his back performing a sexual act on the rapper. The man who has filed the claim says that he has never met Cardi B and is troubled that he may be associated with the album and its cover. He therefore claims that the rapper violated his right to publicity. He seeks $5 million in damages.
These types of claims are not uncommon. Relatively recently, Warner Brothers faced a similar lawsuit revolving around the use of a face tattoo sported by former boxer Mike Tyson. However, that case dealt with copyright issues, which is not the focus of the Cardi B case. Although Cardi B’s legal team filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, that motion was recently denied. It appears that the parties are still in midst of discovery, so we’ll have to wait and see how this case resolves.
The use of images and likenesses can present very real problems for entertainers and regular consumers alike. Regardless of which side an individual falls, knowing the law and how to utilize it to one’s advantage is the best way to protect one’s rights. For this reason, many individuals who are facing these types of legal issues choose to turn to competent entertainment law professionals for assistance. This is often a wise move, is there is usually too much at stake to try to address these matters on one’s own.