Misappropriation of Image



A celebrity’s right to privacy is invaded of course by unreasonable intrusions upon their seclusion, by publicly placing them in a false light or by making public certain facts of their private life they would have preferred to keep private. Police can be called to stop stalkers or overzealous paparazzi, and with today’s proliferation of fan sites, social media and other internet sites, these issues are normally either handled without litigation or are difficult to prevent. But this is still the time to call California misappropriation of image lawyer Sebastian Gibson before you find your image used without your permission in the media or on advertising without your release.

The California Lawyer for Celebrities, Sebastian Gibson

California Misappropriation of Image Lawyer Sebastian Gibson has over 35 years of experience in London and the U.S. representing celebrities and models in the entertainment and modeling industry.  He’s written for the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal newspapers and is also the author of a book published in 2012.

Sebastian Gibson has been recognized by Palm Springs Life Magazine as One of the Top Lawyers of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.  He’s been called “Brilliant” and “A Legend.”  If you want a top lawyer on your side, call Sebastian Gibson at (760) 776-1810.

Today, Sebastian Gibson has been frequently interviewed on radio and TV for his expertise, his wit and humor.  The author of thousands of articles on the internet, Sebastian Gibson has also written for the Los Angeles Daily Journal newspaper and the San Francisco Daily Journal and is the author of book published in 2012.

It is the appropriation of a celebrity’s likeness, images and photos that gives rise to a claim for damages by celebrities in the entertainment industry.  Let’s say a dance club obtains a photo from the photographer of a model and uses it to advertise events and bottle service at an expensive nightclub.  Is the nightclub owner subject to a claim for damages?  Very possibly.

While the nightclub owner may have obtained a license from the photographer (who owns the copyright in the photo he or she took of the model) if the photographer didn’t have a broadly worded release from the model permitting the photographer to license the use of the photo for the type of advertisement it is being used in, or didn’t obtain the model’s release for the photographer to license others to use of the photo for all uses, the nightclub owner will be responsible for damages to the model.

The California Lawyer for Celebrities, Sebastian Gibson


Unless an advertiser (in this case, the nightclub owner) gets permission from the model to use the photo, the nightclub owner is infringing the model’s privacy rights and is subject to a sizeable claim for damages.  The more money the nightclub makes from advertising events with the model’s photograph, the more damages the model is entitled to.  The more times the photo is used, the larger the damages the nightclub owner is liable for.

And if the advertiser uses the model’s photograph in a demeaning way or uses it in such a way as to place the model in a false light, the advertiser or nightclub owner may also be responsible for payment of damages to the model for the additional privacy right of portraying the model in such a false light.

Publicity Rights in California

As valuable as Privacy rights are to a celebrity in the entertainment industry, a celebrity’s Publicity rights are even more valuable and are more often infringed.

A celebrity’s right of publicity involves the right of a celebrity to protect the celebrity’s likeness from being commercially exploited without their consent, and in most cases, without any compensation to the celebrity.  It is thus the right of the celebrity to control and make money from the commercial use of their image.

A celebrity has a right to control the use of their likeness in photos taken by photographers and to profit from the use of such photos, videos, film, drawings, paintings, name or even their voice in any advertisement or use of their image to promote anything that will further the commercial success or profits of another.

So where does this right come into play?  In nearly everywhere a photo of a celebrity is used without the permission of a celebrity for that particular commercial use.  Whether the photo or video of a celebrity is used to promote a product, a person’s website, an event, a service or an advertiser’s business.  If a celebrity’s photo is used without the permission of the celebrity, the advertiser can be held responsible for payment of the profits made from the use of that celebrity’s image, to the celebrity.

Say a cosmetics company obtains photos taken by a professional photographer of a celebrity for use in a cosmetic advertising campaign.  The company has in most cases obtained the photos from the photographer used by the celebrity’s photographer and the celebrity signed a celebrity release authorizing the use of the celebrity’s photographs for the cosmetics campaign.  So far, everything is probably fine.

But let’s say that the cosmetic company decides to expand their campaign to the internet.  Already, the cosmetic company may be using the photos beyond the scope of the celebrity’s release.

If the cosmetic company decides to use footage of the celebrity in a video for YouTube that the cosmetic company hopes will go viral, the cosmetic company has almost certainly gone beyond the scope of the license to use the photographs they obtained from the photographer.

And if the cosmetic company decides to use the photos of the celebrity to promote their new jewelry line, the opening of a new stores in New York or in Los Angeles, London, Paris, Miami or Milan, the cosmetic company has in all likelihood really gone beyond the scope of what the celebrity allowed them to do.

Common Publicity Rights cases involve the use of celebrities’ photographs on products from vitamins to coffee.  It is truly astounding the number of advertisers who use photographs for advertising campaigns without proper releases not only from the photographer but also from the celebrities to use their photographs in extensive advertising campaigns which leave them vulnerable to lawsuits for millions of dollars.

While every state in the U.S. has different Privacy and Publicity Rights laws, when an advertiser unlawfully uses a celebrity’s photographs in an advertising campaign on the internet or in a national advertising campaign, the celebrity can, in many cases, choose the best state, often California, to sue the advertiser for damages.  In a number of states, the publicity rights even survive a person’s death.

Federal lawsuits may also be filed by a celebrity where the use of the celebrity’s identity is used to create a false endorsement under the Lanham Act.

Call California Misappropriation of Image Lawyer Sebastian Gibson If Your Photo Is Used Without Your Release

The value of a celebrity’s claim for misappropriation of a celebrity photo is when the celebrity’s photograph or video or film is used in a commercial setting for exploitative (to make money off the use of the image) purposes.  Once the issue of whether the advertiser had the celebrity’s release for the use in which the celebrity’s photo, film, video or commercial was used, the bigger issue of the amount of damages for which the celebrity can bring a lawsuit must be determined.  That will depend on a number of factors, most important of which are the profits made by the advertiser and the number of times the photograph, commercial, film or video has been used.

When you need the best celebrity lawyer for your publicity or privacy rights, consider California Misappropriation of Image Lawyer Sebastian Gibson.  With offices in Palm Desert and Newport Beach, and experience in the U.K., Sebastian Gibson can assist you with your legal matters in the Coachella Valley, Orange County, andthroughout California as well as internationally especially in Great Britain.

Call California Misappropriation of Image Lawyer Sebastian Gibson If Your Photo Is Used Without Your Release

If you believe your likeness or images were misused by advertiser without obtaining the proper releases and your authorization in violation of your privacy or publicity rights as a celebrity, call California Misappropriation of Image Lawyer Sebastian Gibson for a consultation today at (760) 776-1810.