Brooklyn Journal of International Law

First Page



Currently, there is no global standard or recognition for the right of publicity. Even within the United States, the recognition, scope, and protections vary by state. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on social media for news, information, communication, and recommendations, micro-influencers and non-celebrities require a way to control their developed and curated name, image, and likeness from unauthorized commercial uses by others. Advertising is occurring more frequently online, and brands recognize the power that micro-influencers have on commerce. Some countries, like the United Kingdom, do not recognize the right of publicity, potentially leaving many individuals without recourse for the misappropriation of their personality. This note offers a solution by looking to recent data protection regulations, namely the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The extraterritorial reach of the GDPR and CCPA obligates companies around the world to comply with these regulations and encourages other jurisdictions to similarly implement their own policies. This note suggests recognizing a person’s name, image, and likeness as personal data and implementing the right of publicity as an extension of the right to be forgotten, which gives individuals control over their personal data, and include a means to recover compensation for commercial misuse. Framing the right of publicity as control over the commercial use of one’s personal data online allows those countries that refuse to recognize the right of publicity a narrow pathway to provide protection.