Image Rights of Celebrities vs. Public Interest – Striking the Right Balance Under German Law
Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (2014) 9 (10): 835-840
9 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2016 Last revised: 19 Oct 2016
Date Written: March 30, 2014
The issue of infringement of personality rights in unlicensed merchandise cases has been the subject of much legal activity in Germany over the past 40 years. Pop stars, TV celebrities as well as famous athletes have sought protection against the commercial use of their images without their consent. High profile cases have involved, for example, the former football national player and coach, Franz Beckenbauer, and the three-time Wimbledon Champion Boris Becker. This article analyses the background and latest developments in the case -law law in Germany which deals with the commercial exploitation of an individual’s personality as a special form of manifestation of the general right of personality. It will be considered how the German Federal Court of Justice strikes the balance between legitimate public interest in a celebrities’ personality and a mere business interest and whether this balance has recently shifted towards the image rightholder.
Keywords: image rights, personality rights, German Federal Court of Justice, Germany
JEL Classification: K13, K19, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation