Fashion Law

Careful, Andele Lara. Being a Riri lookalike can be illegal

Andele Lara is the 22 year old Bostonian whose RIH-markable RIH-semblance has been garnering her attention since she was 15.

Andele Lara, Rihanna lookalike

Andele Lara Instagram photo

This Rihanna lookalike is even paid by companies to endorse their products. Right of Publicity and unfair competition claims may arise when someone makes money off of someone else’s likeness.

Is it unfair for brands to hire lookalikes as sponsors instead of the celebrities whose likeness the lookalike reflects?

The Right of Publicity (discussed in this previous Kim K post and mentioned in this Tupac post) varies significantly from state to state and country to country. In this situation, brands are not using an actual image of Rihanna, nor is Andele Lara impersonating Rihanna to brands. But the brands hiring this woman because of her likeness are doing so to confuse the consumer.

Andele can’t sing but she otherwise plans onbecoming a professional Rihanna lookalike. This “career goal” surely seems less harmful than some Drag Queen celebrity impersonators who share the celebrity’s talent. But Rihanna is known to defend her likeness, so Andele should set aside some of her lofty paychecks.

Right of Publicity in Massachusetts:

Unauthorized use of name, portrait or picture of a person; injunctive relief; damages; exceptions

Any person whose name, portrait or picture is used within the commonwealth for advertising purposes or for the purposes of trade without his written consent may bring a civil action in the superior court against the person so using his name, portrait or picture, to prevent and restrain the use thereof; and may recover damages for any injuries sustained by reason of such use. If the defendant shall have knowingly used such person’s name, portrait or picture in such manner as is prohibited or unlawful, the court, in its discretion, may award the plaintiff treble the amount of the damages sustained by him.

Nothing in this section shall be so construed as to prevent any person practicing the profession of photography from exhibiting in or about his or its establishment specimens of the work of such person or establishment, unless the exhibiting of any such specimen is continued after written notice objecting thereto has been given by the person portrayed; and nothing in this section shall be so construed as to prevent any person from using the name, portrait or picture of any manufacturer or dealer in connection with the goods, wares and merchandise manufactured, produced or dealt in by such manufacturer or dealer which such person has sold or disposed of with such name, portrait or picture used in connection therewith; or from using the name, portrait or picture of any author, composer or artist in connection with any literary, musical or artistic production of such author, composer or artist which such person has sold or disposed of with such name, portrait or picture used in connection therewith.

 

You Might Also Like