Colorado Publicity Rights
Publicity rights are a matter of state law and are not preempted by federal jurisdiction. As of today, 7/2/2010, Colorado has not passed publicity rights laws. However, a couple years ago Colorado courts began recognizing misappropriation causes of action for the use of celebrity images in commercials. These misappropriation actions aren’t nearly as robust as statutory publicity rights and are often dismissed in favor of causes of action based on copyright claims. It’s also important to remember that the United States is a multi-jurisdictional country and many of our sister states have passed stringent publicity rights laws which may be applicable to your use of another person’s publicity rights. If a celebrity has died then the state in which the celebrity was domiciled when they died is typically the state from which the applicable publicity rights law applies. For most practical purposes business should be conducted as if statutory publicity rights exist in Colorado. Further analysis of jurisdictional applicability, choice of laws, venue, and common law causes of action should be rendered by a competent attorney before unlicensed use of publicity rights is conducted.