Lisa Raimondi


This Note explores how a right of publicity action might be used to address present day concerns regarding biometric data ownership rights where an individual’s likeness can essentially be bought and sold. As social networking and use of the internet has grown, so has the opportunity for people to engage with others and share their lives. However, that opportunity also comes with risk. More and more, people are required to accept the terms of use and privacy policies detailing how their biometric data will be collected and stored if they want to download and use certain technological applications. Most of these applications are offered to the public free of charge, so how is it these companies continue to increase their revenue? This Note purports that the users’ biometric data stands as a bargaining chip that is shared with tech companies in exchange for use of their product. After the companies collect this biometric data, it is sold for profit. By this very act it is proven that a person’s likeness has commercial value— and should not be misappropriated for another’s benefit. At the time of this Note, a few U.S. states have enacted biometric data regulations, but in the majority of states, consumers remain vulnerable. This is where the common law right of publicity comes in, as a potential vehicle to help everyday citizens regain control over their likeness, or at minimum, receive compensation where it is misused. Biometric data regulation is in its nascent stage and the extent of damage resulting from the individual’s loss of control over their biometric data is as yet unknown, but this Note endeavors to work out a possible avenue to regain control over commodified identity.

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Privacy Law Commons



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