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Law 797-J: International Intellectual Property: Publicity Rights

Publicity Rights

Publicity rights (also called personality rights) are usually governed by case law in common law jurisdictions and by civil code or other laws in civil law countries. 

However, several common law provinces in Canada (British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Saskatchewan) have enacted privacy legislation which covers personality rights.


Civil Law Countries


Código Civil, articles 11-20, govern rights of personality.  Civil Code of Brazil Translated into English (2014) is located at KHD 404.3 2002 .A52 2014

China (People’s Republic)

Section 4 (articles 99 and 100) of the General Principles of Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China [revised] (2009) governs rights of personality.

Costa Rica

Rights of personality are in the Código Civil, Articles 47 and 48.  Civil Code of Costa Rica and Family Code of Costa Rica Translated into English is available at KGB 404.3 1887.A52 2014


Civil Code, Article 9 guarantees a private life.  A translation is also available.  Article 266 of the Code pénal criminalizes the “violation of one’s intimacy”…by “intercepting, recording or transmitting words uttered in confidential or private circumstances, without the consent of their speaker; [or] taking, recording or transmitting the picture of a person who is within a private place, without the consent of the person concerned.”  (Penal Code translation)



In a case decided in 1954 (13 BGHZ 334) the German Supreme Court recognized the right of personality based on section 823(1)  (damages include those for violation of “another right”) of the  BGB (Civil Code) and articles 1 (human dignity) and 2 (personal freedoms)of the Basic Law.  In a subsequent case involving the heirs of Marlene Dietrich  ( Urteil vom 1. 12. 1999 – I ZR 49/97  with an English translation) the Court expanded the protection of posthumous personality rights in advertising.

Section 201a of the StGB criminalizes the violation of intimate privacy by taking photographs.



Codice Civil, Article 10 prohibits abuse of an other person’s likeness.   The Italian Civil Code translation is located at KKH 494.3 1942.A52 2012



Código Civil, Article 15, prohibits using the image and voice of a person without consent.  Civil Code of Perú Translated into English is available at KHQ 404.3 1984.A52 2014

Council of Europe

Article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right to a private life.  In the case of von Hannover v. Germany the court ruled that photographs published without her consent violated Princes Caroline’s privacy rights.


United States v. International Publicity Rights: A Comparison