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Personality Rights in India

What are Personality Rights in India?

Personality Rights in India refer to the right of a person to protect his/her personality under the right to privacy or property.

These rights are important to celebrities as their names, photographs or even voices can easily be misused in various advertisements by different companies to boost their sales.

Therefore, it is necessary for renowned personalities/celebrities to register their names to save their Personality Rights.

A large list of unique personal attributes contribute to the making of a celebrity. All of these attributes need to be protected, such as name, nickname, stage name, picture, likeness, image and any identifiable personal property, such as a distinctive race car.

Composition: Personality Rights consist of two types of rights.

    • The Right to Publicity: It involves the right to keep one’s image and likeness from being commercially exploited without permission or contractual compensation, which is similar (but not identical) to the use of a trademark.
    • The Right to Privacy: It involves the right to not have one’s personality represented publicly without permission.

Who is a Celebrity and its Personality Rights

In Titan Industries Ltd. vs. Ramkumar Jewellers, the Delhi High Court in 2012 defined a celebrity as “a famous or a well-known person who “many” people talk about or know about” and further went on to lay down that “The Right to Control commercial use of human identity is the right to publicity.”

How Personality Rights Protected in India

There is no separate codified law in India dealing with personality or celebrity rights.

Article 21: The closest statute to protect personality rights is Article 21 of the Constitution of India under rights to privacy and publicity.

The Copyright Act 1957: As per the provisions of the act, the Authors or the Performers have the right to be given credit or claim authorship of their work and have a negative right restraining others from causing any kind of damage to their work which consequently disrupts their reputation.

The Indian Trademarks Act, 1999: Section 14 of the act prohibits the use of personal names and representations.

Passing off and Torts: Personality Rights are also protected under the common law remedy of passing off and that of Law of Torts.

  • Passing off: It takes place when someone intentionally or unintentionally passes off their goods or services as those belonging to another party.
  • Law of torts: The law of torts in India is a body of law that addresses and provides remedies for non-contractual acts of civil wrongdoings.

False Endorsement by Celebrities

While the celebrities are protected from commercial misuse of their name and personality, there have also been instances where the consumers are misled owing to false advertisements or endorsements by such personalities.

As a result of same, to find a balance to the scale, the Amendment to the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 was passed to keep a check on the misleading advertisements and endorsements of consumer products by imposing penalty on the endorser as well.

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