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Entertainment and Sports Law: Right to Privacy

Our attorneys protect high-profile clients from unfair exposure

The McKenna Law Firm assists public figures in maintaining their right to privacy, even when living in the public eye. Entertainers and athletes deserve to have their private life out of the national sphere, and deserve to be free from defamation and slander. Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis referred to an individual’s “right to be left alone” as a fundamental necessity. In today’s digital landscape — where information is spread in a matter of seconds — our attorneys are even more compelled to protect our clients from unfair scrutiny.

At the McKenna Law Firm, we concentrate much of our right to privacy law practice in protecting clients’ likeness and image from misuse. Our attorneys have handled high profile cases in which athletes and entertainers’ have unlawfully had their likeness used without consent.

Threats to privacy

Unfortunately, unscrupulous industry insiders use deceitful tactics to make a quick buck. Some threats to a high-profile person’s privacy include:

  • Print media outlets. Even “reputable” news sources have been known to misrepresent facts, or improperly fact-check statements.
  • Online media outlets. Anyone can publish content online, regardless of its truthfulness or adherence to privacy laws. Blogs, websites, social media and more pose a significant risk to celebrities and athletes who wish to keep a low-profile.
  • Paparazzi. New York City and the surrounding areas are home to high–profile celebrities followed by sneaky photographers. They may sell a celebrity’s image for profit.
  • Commercial industries. From television shows to consumer products, a company may attempt to use a famous person’s likeness to market their product without permission.

Right of Publicity

The Right of Publicity, otherwise called personality rights, refers to individuals’ right to control the use of their likeness, name and identity for commercial use. A company or person cannot use your name or image for monetary gain without permission or a contractual agreement. New Jersey’s state appellate courts recognize a common law right of publicity and a comparable protection on a privacy theory under the state’s appropriation tort. Damages are available for appropriation claims under New Jersey law. Whether or not one is a celebrity will affect the calculation of damages.

Privacy violations

Maintaining impenetrable security over private documents is essential is protecting your privacy, but sometimes breaches are unavoidable. Well-known personalities are susceptible to privacy violations such as:

  • Misappropriation of your name or likeness. No one can use your name or image for commercial purposes without your express permission.
  • Information and data theft. Hackers and thieves may attempt to steal personal data.
  • Sale of private data.  A thief can sell your private information to tabloids and media outlets.
  • Slander/defamation/libel. Laws prevent individuals from making false and defaming public statements.

The McKenna Law Firm respects your right to privacy. We handle cases involving with the utmost discretion and professionalism.

Contact the McKenna Law Firm

To arrange a consultation with one of our accomplished attorneys, please give the firm a call at 973.509.0050 or contact us online. We handle sensitive cases with vigilance and discretion.