Right to publicity and privacy versus first amendment freedom of speech


A person's right to publicity may often contradict with another person's rights under the First Amendment. While a person's legal protection over their right of publicity is relatively new in the eyes of our court, this topic of law and other related matters seem to be at the center of attention in current large profile civil litigation cases. The First Amendment seeks to promote speech, whereas the right of publicity laws seeks .to limit speech. If civil action is brought against a defendant for violating the plaintiffs right of publicity, a First Amendment exception may apply as a valid defense. This contradiction in the nature of these laws is forcing our court system to review applicable cases on a case by base basis, resulting in some degree of unpredictability in the courts. Because many of the parties in these cases are large commercial companies, more money is at stake as suits of misappropriation are filed. The issue of what direction(s) the courts should take in this matter spawns opposing views. While some views suggest that bright lines be drawn within right of publicity laws in order to avoid redundant and excessive cases and appeals, opposing views contend that bright lines cannot be drawn given the unique and sometimes artistic expression protected under the First Amendment. Our courts have applied the basic framework of copyright law in order to aid in their decision-making. Courts must weigh the right of publicity against the First Amendment.


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Thesis Completion





Sudia, Diane


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Legal Studies


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs;Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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