Along with the widespread recognition achieved by many professional athletes comes substantial “publicity rights,” which can be cultivated for financial benefit. In short, publicity rights protect a person’s name or likeness from being used by others for commercial gain, unless that person grants permission. As such, publicity rights are generally regarded as a tangential aspect to traditional intellectual property rights like patents, trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets. Indeed, there can even be a certain overlap of publicity rights with other IP rights, particularly with trademark rights – such as when a person’s name is linked to a specific product or service.
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