Published on: December 3, 2022

Personality rights

Personality rights

Why in news?

The Delhi High Court recently passed an interim order to prevent the unlawful use of Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan’s name, image and voice.


What are personality rights?

  • Personality rights refer to the right of a person to protect his/her personality under the right to privacy or property.
  • They 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.

What are protected under this 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.

Are personality rights different from publicity rights?

  • Personality rights are different from publicity rights. This rights consist of two types of rights
  1. Right of publicity : 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
  2. Right to privacy : The right to not have one’s personality represented publicly without permission
  • Publicity rights are governed by statutes like the Trade marks Act 1999 and the Copyright Act 1957.

Does the use of a name on the internet affect personality rights?

  • The Delhi High Court in 2011 made an observation in the case of Arun Jaitley vs Network Solutions Private Limited that name also falls in the category wherein it besides being a personal name has attained distinctive identity of its own
  • Well-known personal name/mark under the trade mark law which ensures him the benefit to refrain others from using this name unjustifiably and to sue them for the misuse of his name.

What about consumer rights?

  • While celebrities are protected from commercial misuse of their name and personality, there are the instances of consumers misled owing to false advertisements or endorsements by such personalities.
  • Due to such cases, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has made a notification in 2022 to keep a check on misleading adverts and endorsements of consumer products by imposing a penalty on the endorser.

What are the Statutory provision for personality rights?

  • There is no separate codified law in India dealing with personality or celebrity rights (“Personality Rights”)
  • The most important statutory provision governing Personality Rights is contained and governed as part of the fundamental right of Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
  • Other statutory provisions: Copyright Act 1957 and Indian Trademarks Act, 1999