Posted On: November 30, 2023

PROTECTION OF PERSONALITY RIGHTS

Protection of 20231129 185158 0000

PUBLISHED BY MS HARINDER NARVAN, MS APARNA JAIN AND MS. AASHRIKA AHUJA AS ON 30.11.2023

INTRODUCTION

Personality rights refer to all those rights that are associated with protecting images of a famous celebrity or a well known individual from being exploited for commercial purposes without their consent. They protect individual’s privacy and ensure their identities are not disclosed to public without their consent. Though personality rights are not expressly stated in the Constitution, but in the case of Judge K.SPuttaswamy v. Union of India, AIR 2017 SC 4161, privacy was acknowledged as a basic right under Article 21 of the Constitution. Privacy is a “right to be left alone” that is an extension of liberty, and anyone who uses another person’s identity without that person’s consent is seen to have violated both that person’s personality rights and their fundamental right to privacy. Only celebrities can claim such rights because they live a different life than the common man so they have the right to control when their image can or cannot be clicked. They also have the right to protect the misuse of their image, voice or personality trait for commercial exploitation.  The overall personality right combines the right to privacy and the right to publicity. At Knowledgentia Consultants which is the best corporate international law firm in India, we provide all kinds of services for safeguarding and protecting IP rights associated with one’s personality.

TYPES OF PERSONALITY RIGHTS

There are two types of personality rights.

  1. RIGHT TO PUBLICITY

Under this right, a celebrity can prevent exploitation of their image, voice for commercial purpose without the permission of that celebrity and without a contract with the personality.

  1. RIGHT TO PRIVACY

This refers to a right to restrain anyone from representing one’s personality without their permission and amounts to violation of their right to privacy.

PROTECTION OF PERSONALITY RIGHTS IN INDIA

In India, there is no specific law for the protection of personality rights. The Supreme Court and various high courts recognise that personality rights emerge from the right to privacy. Article 21 includes various fundamental rights, such as the right to privacy. Additionally, laws safeguarding personality rights include the following:

  1. Trademarks Act

Celebrities can register their name, voice, signature, etc. under the Trademark Act 1999.  Section 14 of the Trademark Act restricts the use of personal names and representations. After achieving a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics, a few brands posted congratulations and greeting messages on their social media platforms for PV Sindhu. Legal action was taken against those brands by Baseline Ventures, the official representative of Olympian P.V. Sindhu. The action was taken on account  of the manner of representation. The brands posted congratulatory messages along with PV Sindhu’s image and the logo and tagline of their brands, which represent wrong connection with PV Sindhu. Such posts infringed on P.V. Sindhu’s rights by using her images for commercial benefit without her permission.

  1. Copyright Act

The Copyright Act of 1957 protects moral rights. These rights are only granted to authors and performers, which means actors ,singers ,musicians dancers, creators. This act not only protects moral rights but also gives protection to personalities. In the case of Mr. Gautam Gambhir vs. D.A.P. & Co. & Anr. (2017), Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir filed a suit against the defendant because he found that his name was used by the defendant as a tagline for restaurants ‘by Gautam Gambhir’. The cricketer claimed that his rights were violated because his name was used in a tagline that he had no connection with. It was held at the end that no loss is incurred to the plaintiff in his field, i.e., cricket, by running the restaurant with the tagline ‘by Gautam Gambhir’.

  1. Passing off

Passing off means “no one has the right to represent his goods in the name of another person.” The Trademark law recognises Passing off. To earn the benefit of passing off, the plaintiff has to prove misrepresentation of his personality trait and what damages have been done to him because of using personality traits. Section 27 of the Trademark Act refers to ‘passing off’.

THE CASE OF VETERAN ACTO ANIL KAPOOR’S PERSONALITY RIGHTS

The Delhi High Court in the case titled Anil Kapoor v Simply Life India and Ors., CS(COMM) 652/2023, restrained social media channels, e-commerce websites and people at large from infringing on the personality and publicity rights of actor Anil Kapoor. The Mr India actor had moved the high court seeking protection of his name, voice, signature, and image rights for monetary gains without his consent. A single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh said that fame for a person can come with its own disadvantages and said Kapoor’s case shows that reputation and fame can transcend into damage for a person. The court said while there can be no doubt that free speech about a well-known person is protected in the form of write-ups, parody, satires, criticism etc., which is genuine, when the same crosses the line and results in tarnishment, blackening or jeopardising the individual’s personality and elements associated with the individual, it is illegal.

“Using a person’s name, voice, dialogue, and image in an illegal manner that too for commercial purposes cannot be permitted. The celebrity’s right of endorsement could in fact be a major source of livelihood for the celebrity. Any form of misuse or commercial use of a celebrity name, voice, persona, or likeness has been shunned by SC in the seminal judgment called the Auto Shankar case,” the HC noted. celebrity. Any form of misuse or commercial use of a celebrity name, voice, persona, or likeness has been shunned by SC in the seminal judgment called the Auto Shankar case,” the HC noted. Justice Prathiba M Singh passed the order restraining anyone from using Anil Kapoor’s name, likeness, voice or any aspect of his persona to create merchandise, ringtones, etc.

The court also barred the use of artificial intelligence tools to morph his image as well as the use of his image in GIFs for monetary gains or commercial purposes where such activities are likely to violate Kapoor’s rights.

The court further ruled that domains such as http://Anilkapoor.com be immediately suspended and blocked. “The creation of ringtone and GIF images for commercial gains is also complete misuse. Under these circumstances court has no doubt in holding that the plaintiff’s (Kapoor) name, likeness, image, and persona deserves to be protected not only for his own sake but also for the sake of his family and friends who would not like to see his image, name and other elements misused especially for such tarnishing and negative use,” Justice Singh said.

CONCLUSION

Knowledgentia Consultants which is one of the best IPR law firms in Delhi not only adapts to the changing legal scenario but also makes the transition for clients easy and accessible. We are your one-stop solution for all kinds of legal, compliance and supplemental matters concerning protection of intellectual property rights. In case of any query regarding this matter you may email us at info@knowledgentia.com or visit our website -https://knowledgentia.com/.

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