IP Goes Pop! Ep #8: Hollywood and Whine – IP and the Right of Publicity

This week on IP Goes Pop! Volpe Koenig founder Tony Volpe joins intellectual property attorney Michael Snyder to talk about the right of publicity. Whether it’s protecting your image or even your voice, how has the legal landscape changed in the age of technology and “going viral”?

In this episode, Michael and Tony discuss how the right of publicity has manifested within different aspects of pop culture and key cases that have shaped the intellectual property rights protecting one’s likeness across various media.

Tony and Michael begin the conversation with a discussion of the “humble beginnings” of the right of publicity going back to the Roberson decision out of New York in 1902, involving the likeness of a “regular person,” rather than a celebrity. The discussion follows the development of the right of publicity in the modern era, including the monetary value in protecting one’s name, image, likeness, and voice, where photoshop and social media are rapidly altering the landscape.

Listen in as Michael and Tony discuss how the widespread adoption of video and other technological advancements have influenced the right of publicity.

In this episode:

  • State and common law basis for the right of publicity
  • Privacy rights
  • Athlete endorsement deals
  • The character/person dichotomy
  • The heritability of publicity rights
  • Protecting your voice
  • Robot “copies” of known personas
  • Celebrity wedding and baby photographs



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