In May 2015, Governor Robert Bentley signed Alabama Act 2015—188, which defines the Alabama right of publicity statute. Adams IP’s Hunter Adams served on the Alabama Law Institute committee that drafted the legislation. The process began over a year ago with the committee frequently meeting to discuss the scope of the statute and review existing statutes from other states. Sen. Rodger Smitherman and Rep. Juandalynn Givan sponsored the bill. The final version passed unanimously on May 18, 2015.
In general, the Alabama right of publicity statute provides protection for an individual’s name, image, and likeness, among other attributes, from commercial exploitation without consent. Alabama has long recognized an invasion of privacy tort, but this statute is the first of its kind in Alabama.
Alabama’s right of publicity statute provides that “any person or entity who uses or causes the use of the indicia of identity of a person, on or in products, goods, merchandise, or services entered into commerce in this state, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of, products, goods, merchandise, or services, or for purposes of, products, goods, merchandise, or services, or for purposes of fundraising or solicitation of donations, or for false endorsement, without consent shall be liable under this act to that person, or to a holder of that person’s rights.”
Hunter Adams is a registered patent attorney. He primarily practices in the areas of patent prosecution and licensing, though he regularly counsels clients on a range of intellectual property issues, including the right of publicity.