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Use of Someone’s Right of Publicity Should Last Forever

When obtaining the right to use someone’s name, image or likeness (NIL), be sure to obtain the right forever. Do not let a vague agreement enable the person to revoke permission and thereby disrupt continued use of the final end product in which the person appears. Any written license agreement relating to this right of publicity should identify all rights and avoid nuances, which might negate the needed perpetual right. The grant of rights in a person’s NIL should be in writing and should be perpetual, assignable, worldwide and irrevocable. Be careful that other parts of the agreement do not negate the duration of the rights. Differentiate between the agreement terminating and the extended rights continuing. If other parts of the agreement have a finite term or are terminable, be sure the grant of rights in NIL survives termination. Negotiations may lead to certain rights being rescinded under certain circumstances, such as moral turpitude; although when the use of a person’s NIL is in embedded in a final product that cannot be removed from the marketplace, such a feature film or syndicated television show, any rescission rights must reflect that reality.


Ned T. Himmelrich
410-576-4171 • nhimmelrich@gfrlaw.com