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Right of Publicity: College Athletes Get a Win in New Legislation

Issues concerning “Right of Publicity” impact all individuals and businesses, and has become more focused on college athletes as the NCAA and universities gain more money from lucrative television contracts. The NCAA rules of eligibility generally prohibit college athletes from accepting money from outside interests. That may change based on a recent California law that will require third parties to pay student athletes if their likeness is used in advertisements, video games, etc. The repercussions throughout college sports has yet to play out, and the debate will continue about whether colleges should make money based on the athletes who are unable to be paid for their fame. For college athletes, this presents a possible opportunity. For everyone else, it is a reminder that using someone else’s voice or image without permission is a violation of that person’s right of publicity.