The use of someone else`s name occurs when a company or person uses the name, photo or other attributes that define or “like” characteristics for commercial purposes such as advertising or other advertising activities. It can also occur when the identity of one person is used by another person for the other person`s personal interest, whether the objective is strictly commercial or not. There are two different legal rights that apply to this type of unauthorized use. You may be familiar with the now famous case of Alison Chang, which is a good example of potentially illegal use of a person`s name or likeness. In September 2007, Chang`s parents filed a complaint against Virgin Mobile Australia and Creative Commons in a Texas court. Virgin Mobile Australia received a photo of Flickr`s Chang, where it was posted with a CC “Attribution” license, which gave Virgin Mobile permission to use the photo in a commercial setting as long as the photographer who took the photo received an inscription. (For more information on copyright licensing, please see licenses and copyright transfers.) Virgin Mobile used the photo in an advertising campaign to promote its free text messages and other mobile services, without permission from Chang or their parents to use their name or image. Chang`s parents sued Virgin Mobile for misappropriation of his image and the facts also allegedly supported a complaint for violation of their right to publicity. They filed other appeals against Creative Commons, which they dismissed shortly after the complaint was filed. The case, which was later dismissed for lack of personal competence for Virgin Mobile, is interesting because it highlights the fact that someone who wants to use a photo must be concerned not only with copyright, but also with malfeasation and advertising rights. The law also protects other personal attributes or identity from unauthorized use.
For example, the courts have held that the use of a celebrity`s voice may violate the right to publicity. See z.B., Midler v. Ford Motor Co., 849 F.2d 460 (9. Cir. 1988). A court found an accused responsible for using the slogan “Here`s Johnny” as a brand name for portable toilets because he sufficiently invoked the identity of Johnny Carson.