Managing Celebrity’s Image in Cyberspace

A celebrity’s image is the most vital marketable quality in the business of entertainment. Indeed, this image, like other forms of intellectual property, is very much the product that a famous personality offers into the economy for a profit. However, while other forms of intellectual property enjoy protection under copyright and trademark laws, an image is vulnerable to all sorts of cyber attacks that can cause severe and irreparable damage. Nonetheless, a celebrity can prepare and prevent cyberspace threats by speaking with an attorney to establish a plan to monitor online activity and prevent harm. Furthermore, acting immediately at the first sign of an attack can prevent on-going and permanent harm to reputation.

What is the Threat to Celebrities In Cyberspace?

Since a famous personality’s name, image, and reputation make up the underlying fame and fortune, any attack can harm the ability to work successfully. However, taking steps to secure a reputation is especially difficult in the case of public figures. For example, First Amendment free speech protections allow for public discussions involving public figures. Accordingly, it can be even more difficult to bring defamation claims where the victim of offensive remarks is in the public eye. Unfortunately, this harmful publicity can limit a celebrity’s capacity to secure future employment. Musicians face the added threat of the unauthorized use of their work product, especially over the Internet. While some use, even though it is unauthorized, provides free publicity over the Internet, this use can prove to be harmful to economic viability. Also, leaking new music allows users to learn about an artist’s new work, but it takes away from the artist’s ability to make a profit.

What are the Most Common Forms of Attacks on a Celebrity’s Online Reputation?

Entertainers and public figures can help protect their online profiles by paying attention to three of the most common types of threats in cyberspace. First, third parties may register domain names using a famous name to make a profit. These domain name cybersquatters register domain names using famous names in an effort to sell the domain name in the future for a higher price. However, recent cyberspace regulations are making efforts to prevent future abuse and victims of domain name infringement can seek legal representation to claim rightful ownership of the domain name without having to pay improper costs. Second, third parties may use a name, likeness, or personal attributes for unauthorized commercial purposes. A celebrity holds the sole right to use these attributes (e.g., trademark, copyright) for economic gain and any unauthorized use is subject to legal remedies. Finally, adult websites may use a public personality’s image, without authorization, to draw attention to the site. Not only are such displays embarrassing, but they may also cause substantial harm to reputation. The injured party has the option to prevent any future use through a court-ordered restraining order or injunction. However, it is important to act quickly to limit access to images and prevent the site from gaining unlawful economic gain through the illegitimate use of another person’s image.

At the Law Offices of Salar Atrizadeh, we guide our clients in legal matters regarding all aspects of internet laws and related threats by using extensive knowledge and skills to create innovative solutions. Please contact us today to set up a confidential consultation.