Tag Archives: Tennessee Personal Rights Protection Act

Posting of “Selfies” Taken with Celebrities at Company Functions – Possible Violation of Publicity Rights?

By J. Graham Matherne

SelfieYour company sponsors, at your offices, a charitable, newsworthy event. Local celebrities attend. Afterwards, you have numerous “selfies” of you and your employees with those celebrities. You want to place various “selfies” on your website but don’t want to go to the trouble of getting the celebrities’ permission first.

While it is always best practice to gain permission, if you don’t, will you violate Tennessee’s law prohibiting misuse of another’s name and likeness for commercial purposes?1 How’s this for a lawyer’s answer: “It depends.”

The Tennessee Personal Rights Protection Act (“TPRPA”) provides that “every individual has a property right in the use of that person’s name, photograph, or likeness in any medium in any manner.” T.C.A. § 47-25-1103. The TPRPA applies, however, only when the unauthorized use is in a commercial, advertising, sponsorship or endorsement context. T.C.A. § 47-25-1105(a).

It is permissible under the TPRPA for one to use another’s name or likeness if the use is in connection with a newsworthy, public affairs or sports-related event. T.C.A. § 47-25-1107(a). But Tennessee courts suggest that if Continue reading