Handbook on International Sports Law

Handbook on International Sports Law

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by James A.R. Nafziger and Stephen F. Ross

This Handbook presents a comprehensive collection of essays by leading scholars and practitioners in the burgeoning field of international sports law.

Chapter 17: Image Rights

Steve Cornelius

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, private international law, sports law


Steve Cornelius 1. INTRODUCTION The second half of the twentieth century was marked by an unprecedented growth in the entertainment industry – not only as far as theatre, film, music and fashion were concerned, but also sport. It was especially during the 1950s and 1960s that the world was first confronted with the concept of the superstar. Film stars such as James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, models such as Twiggy, musicians such as Elvis Presley and the Beatles and sport stars such as Pele and Muhammad Ali set new standards of fame and virtually overnight changed our society, our values and the way in which we viewed ourselves and others. One of the consequences which stems from these developments is that the outward image and physical attributes of the individual have suddenly become commodities. The advertising world takes notice of the popularity enjoyed by the stars and realises the value of associating merchandise or trade marks with superstars. On the one hand, this leads to a whole new source of income for the superstars themselves and hopefully increased profits for the enterprises that associate their services or products with the stars. But, on the other hand, it leads to difficulties when the attributes of a person are apparently used without consent. And it is precisely this unauthorised usage which poses new questions to the law. Should the law protect the individual against unlawful use of his or her image? If so, to what extent should such protection be granted...

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