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Right of Publicity

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In addition to trademark infringement and trademark counterfeiting laws,  right of publicity laws address another tactic that may be employed by fraudsters which is the unlicensed use of a well known person's image or likeness beyond fair use.

One common illegal practice is affixing an unlicensed image or likeness of a famous person to a product, website, advertisement, etc. in order to play upon the well known reputation of the person whose image or likeness is then used in a manner calculated for the advantage of the unlicensed party and may often include promoting whatever their image is used in relation to, or affixed to, and/or to drive sales of the items bearing the image or likeness.

Another practice is using a person's image (especially a famous or well known person) without a license and in a confusing manner that suggests or implies some kind of relationship with, or association with, that person. This  practice is also calculated for the advantage of the unlicensed party displaying the other person's image or likeness.

These practices are similar to the actions of trademark infringers and/or trademark counterfeiters who use confusingly similar names and logos or registered trademarks without a license from the owner and do so in a manner calculated for their advantage.

Right of Publicity provides legal protections in addition to copyrights and trademarks.

  • Copyright protects the rights of the owner of a specific photo taken by a specific person
  • Right of Publicity protects the rights of the person in the photo taken by the photographer

Copyright also applies to photos or any original creative work expressed in a fixed form, just as Right of Publicity protects the rights of a person whose image or likeness may be used in a photo or any other creative work expressed in a fixed from.

Right of Publicity violators play upon the well known reputation and goodwill of the other person's image or likeness and employ it without a license in a manner calculated for their advantage.

It is beyond the scope of The Martial Art Fraud website to discuss all the nuances of law about use of another person's image; however, there are laws and statutes that address this activity and they are codified as Right of Publicity which governs the rights of a person or their estate or agent to control the use of their image or likeness, etc.

This is an excellent resource where a few minutes of reading can shed some informed light on the legal perspective behind such protections afforded to people about the use of their image.

The Martial Art Fraud website provides direct links to a number of different reporting agencies dedicated to protecting consumers from fraud and criminal activity. If you discover these illegal activities taking place in your community we encourage you to report them.

The Martial Art Fraud website provides information intended to help you proactively 1) recognize and identify circumstances with a high potential for you to become a victim of fraud, 2) verify factual evidence of fraud and 3) report evidence of fraud to appropriate agencies and authorities. Disclaimer


Martial Art Fraud

Martial Arts Fraud is a public service initiative sponsored by the non-profit U.S. Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation. This website provides educational information about specific circumstances with a high potential for consumers to be defrauded when searching for and selecting a martial art school as well as for students who are already enrolled at a martial art school and discover that any of the discussed illegal acts are present.

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