This month, Julius Yego aka the YouTube Athlete appeared to be the latest professional sportsperson to be a victim of the unauthorised commercial exploitation of his image rights (as illustrated by his facebook post displayed above).
The persona and image of a celebrity is a valuable commercial commodity and should be protected from dissemination and misappropriation without authorization. The term “image rights” means the inherent right of every human being to control the commercial value of their image, likeness, persona, or identity. This “right of publicity” was first recognized in the United States about sixty two years ago. Celebrities such as professional sportspersons generate the most economic value from this right. The right of publicity is violated when one appropriates someone else’s name or likeness for the purpose of economic benefit without his or her consent.