With the growing popularity of and easy access to media and technology, social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer a convenient medium for users to post images and engage with the wider public. However, danger arises when images of celebrities or public figures are posted, especially without their appropriate permission to do so.
Image rights and passing off
The UK does not have a law that specifically addresses image rights. However, it provides a piecemeal approach to protecting this area of intellectual property by way of passing off, and the law in this area is fast developing to protect goodwill and reputation.
The tort of passing off is one of the most useful tools in cases of false endorsement. For instance, if a celebrity or other individual wants to protect their image from being used by others without permission, specifically when the use of the image endorses a brand, product or service, then the tort of passing off may provide an appropriate remedy.