Marilyn Monroe, Push Spice and Me: Personality, Property and Privacy

C. Waelde (UK)


Personality, exploitation, freedom of expression, privacy


Unlike many other jurisdictions, historically the law in the UK has not interfered to prevent the exploitation of the image (or other attributes) of an individual, whether that individual be a dead icon (Marilyn Monroe), a live celebrity (Posh Spice), or a living individual largely unrecognised by the wider community (Me). The laws that have been argued and rejected tend to be the existing intellectual property rights and related laws, notably copyright and performers rights, trade marks and passing off and breach of confidence. The arguments are often raised in relation to two types of use: commercial exploitation and freedom of expression. This paper considers the wisdom of developing a personality right for celebrities and non-celebrities alike in the United Kingdom in light of experience to date in the United States of America and elsewhere.

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