Meta Title: - Guide on celebrity rights and their agreements under entertainment industry

Meta Description:- The present blog is a perfect guide and cover each aspect of media and how it is related to the intellectual property at the same time it discusses about the rights of celebrities and various agreements that are involved in this aspect this blog is perfect mix to know more about these endorsement agreements of the celebrity and at the same time understand the intricacies of the celebrity rights and the role of media in all these scenarios.

Introduction: -

In the world today we live in, which is said to be dynamic and where a small spark of information spreads like wildfire the media plays a pivotal role in shaping the understanding, perception, opinion of we the people and to keep us intact with the national and international events taking place across the globe. This industry which always keeps us updated has witnessed significant transformation in the recent times, facing new barriers and challenges. Earlier this industry was only limited to print and live performances but with the transforming phase the laws have now encompass various segments of media and internet advertising, OTT content, celebrities and influencers etc.

In this contemporary digital age media has all pervasive role for aligning the opinion of the people about the society they live in. As the sources of media basically these newspapers, television and internet have become inseparable from our lives. This intersection of media and law is particularly within the intellectual property has emerged as a critical nexus. In these challenging and complex environment the area of celebrity rights has emerged as a significant factor drawing attention to the moral and personality rights, privacy concerns, publicity and merchandising rights.

In this complex air of media and law, 2 agreements which are to be looked into are the endorsement and artistic agreements. They are distinct from each other yet share a lot of similarities. Celebrity endorsement agreement anchorage celebrity's fame so that the brand visibility can be enhanced in front of the potential customers. Whereas the artist agreement is an agreement which binds an artist with the signatory production house for a specific event or a movie. Looking into these agreements will shed some light on their complexities and implications. The present blog will be an exploration of the intricate tapestry telling on media, celebrity rights and the vast spectrum of agreements that underpin the vibrant entertainment industry in India.

Keywords: - Celebrity rights, artist agreements, endorsement agreement, Article 19(1)(a), Media and Entertainment Laws, Piracy, Cable Piracy, Video Piracy, Music Piracy, Copyright, Licensing, Indian Copyright act, 1957, Trademarks Act 1999, Personality Rights, Publicity Rights, Privacy Rights.

Role of Media and its evolution in Entertainment Industry

Media acts as a reliable source to know about what's going on at a global as well as at national level. It's journey from live performances and print to the digital footprint what it has established is remarkable. As there is advancement, with it comes a lot of responsibility to abide by the legal aspects and considerations. With the expanding hands of media along with it laws governing media goes hand in hand.

The concept of freedom lies at the core of these rights which is rooted in Art 19(1)(a) of The Indian Constitution which talks about the freedom of speech & Expression. This article has shaped the landscape of Media & Entertainment laws for years from its inception and the early cases revolved around this article only and have its essence in it.

With the evolution of this landscape of media it came across assorted challenges that triggered the need of legal intervention. As per the changes in times and trends in this dynamic environment media has witnessed the existence of arms related to intellectual property related matters, defamation claims, publicity rights, licensing and contractual disputes. Talking about the rights of celebrity it is still an area which is equivocal. There is a need of legal framework for the safety of the well-known celebrities who often came across misrepresentation, misuse of their images, content modification which is unauthorized. To curb these complex matters a strict legal framework is the need of the hour.

India's Film Industry Challenges Pertaining to Copyright & Licensing

Bustling Film Industry of India recognized nationally as well as internationally which is famous for producing largest no of films around the globe. Having such wide range makes it more open to get distort saying there by that being the large films production hub doesn't make the industry immune from the legal day to day activities. Among all these events lies the concerns of licensing and copyright issues which loom large complexities which are present in the entire air of entertainment industry.

  1. Ubiquitous Piracy Woes: -

    Escalated by the widespread use of internet, piracy is something which makes our film industry bedevil. This Includes

    • Video Piracy which includes selling and creation of movies or videos unlawfully.
    • Cable Piracy in which movies are transmitted with the help of these cable networks making them a medium of transmission.
    • Music Piracy which involves production and sale of recorded music in an unauthorized manner.

    These uncontrolled piracy acts as a medium which causes financial challenge and loss to makers and producers of movies and music as it is sold on a cheaper rate through pirated sites or holder which lands these producers in loss. All such calls for the need to enforce a deterrent law which can restrict these events from happening and so does the Intellectual Property laws. The copyright Act of India initiated in 1957 prohibits piracy and levy penalty if done accordingly. The information Technology Act of 2000 joins copyright act side by side and supports by penalizing the non-authorized copied or transferred data from devices.

    Due to the technological advancement we came across a shift from the era of CDs, DVDs, to personal computers and a handy mobile phone and as the means have increased the practices to perform illegal acts have also increased. Now a days its very common to record the movies on our phone and illegally sell it on websites to make it available for people. This practice is prohibited by cinematograph Act 195 which includes the recording of movies in movie theaters with the help of devices which can be copied and a creation of version ready to be pirated is created and sold on pirated websites this act is punishable by law.

  2. Copyright: -

    Production of film/movie comes with a lot of responsibility to know about the where about of the law associated with their work. The producers should have a thorough knowledge so that they can describe it precisely that what intellectual property is associated with the production of their work. This includes lot of elements like script, screenplay, soundtrack, the correct use of movie's name, brands advertised in the movie, performances of actors. Since these rights might be associated with different individuals its necessary for the producer to get copyright over these essential elements. This legal framework which acts as an umbrella to confer the rights of the producer are given under the Copyright Act of 1957.

  3. Licensing: -

    If we talk about the concept of License under the entertainment industry it arises or comes in the frame for the films which are derived from any already existing work say for example a book or a novel or remake of movies. When any such kind of transformation of a work in novel or book is done into the masterpiece of a cinematic endeavors the producers and the directors of the film have to obtain certain specified rights from the original owner of the work of copyright holder.

    If the copyright holder of the novel or book gives his/her consent then a license agreement is made between the copyright holder and the producer of the film. This agreement entered into between the 2 is a crucial agreement covering all the necessary details about the given license like grants of rights, all the representation and warranties made by both the parties, details about the consideration of pricing, provisions related to screen credits. This agreement acts as a root of clarity to act as a legal foundation to their collaboration giving full protection to the entered parties.

    If we understand the crux of the aspects mainly India's film industry there is complexity in copyright protection and licensing agreements even after its success in the financial as well as creative aspects. In the present digital era preserving the rights of the producers and creators is paramount helping in maintenance of a vibrant and in consonance with legally sound cinematic landscape.

Rights of Celebrity in India

If we are talking of celebrity then first we should delve with the term celebrity. What or who is a celebrity?

The term celebrity is derived from a Latin word "Celebritatem" referring there by the state of fame. As per the definition of Oxford Lexicon the term celebrity is referred to an individual who is well-known particularly in fields like entertainment or politics or sports. This recognition is gained with the skills or intellect at their hand.

In todays era the scope of celebrity has a wide range including a number of esteemed and infamous personalities like actors, politicians, artists, athlete's and even people who are associated with criminals. If we talk about the legal scenario of the same in India this terms celebrity is not explicitly used in laws there is a definition of performer which is given in Section 2(qq) of the Copyright Act, 1957 as per this section all the artist who are engaged in performances are referred to as performers. Though the law is silent on the position imitators to be recognized as celebrities or not. But it is clear that imitation is not equivalent to celebrity status given to a person.

Section 38 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 grants some rights to the celebrities. Yet it fails to include comprehensive rights for the celebrities or public personalities. If we talk about the concept of personality rights it has a vast ambit as it goes beyond celebrity status and includes intrinsic right of being an individual who is contributing to the society and these contributions are valuable one for our society. This further expands including right to privacy and control on how the image of an individual is portrayed to the outside world. As normal individuals, celebrities also desire that their personal life and images not to be exploited.

The gist of these rights is to acknowledge the fact that celebrities are also humans first apart from having an identity for the public and for that matter of fact they also have same personal freedom that anyone else as an individual of India enjoys. It would be unreasonable if the price of the fame they gain is entailed by invading their privacy or commercializing their talents.

The classification of these rights of celebrity can be done under 3 heads namely: -

  1. Personality or moral right
  2. Privacy right
  3. Publicity right

Personality Right: -

The way of gaining recognition fame from others is termed as personality. With the help of sculpturing this personality of an individual is shaped by the people to showcase it to the society and their intended conduct is recognized. As all the fingers of hand are not equal similarly personality of every individual contributes to the society in a way different then other which is aligned with their abilities. This image of an individual is a way through which others identity is placed in the social structure.

Personality of an individual showcases the life of an individual which is forged to significant efforts of that individual and their personal challenges. If we talk about celebrities the rearing and upkeeping of their image and personality becomes more important. In India celebrities hold very high value by doing endorsements in various advertisements they become faces of the products. Endorsements like these signify the trust of the celebrities in the product and a faith in the love and affection of people that they will purchase these products based on the endorsement done by them.

Celebrities often come across a recurrent issue where their image is exploited without their consent which results in violation of their rights. At this stage our laws come into picture as a savior of the interests of these celebrities.Laws like Indian Copyright Act, 1957 and Trademark Act, 1999 protects the rights of these celebrities. For example. Section 38 of Indian Copyright Act, 1957 gives an assurance to the authors and performers that they will get due credits of the exceptional work they have portrayed through their work and reputation. On the other hand Trademark Act helps in preventing the unauthorize use of celebrities name by someone who is not legally allowed to do so.

The vey next fact that these acts talk about the protection of authors and performers cannot be neglected which in a way creates a gap between the rights of celebrities. In the environment we live in today which is evolving every second due to advancement the pertaining laws might fall short in fully protecting and addressing the problem that arise related to the protecting celebrity.

In the present scenario where frauds are more likely to occur due to advancement everything can be exploited easily there is a compelling need for more comprehensive provisions to shield the personality rights of the celebrities. These provisions should act as a safeguard from tarnishing the image of celebs and how the work they do should be used. This will help to maintain a balanced legal framework which ensures that celebrity have the control over the work they do and no one can tarnish their sculptured image the way they want in this increasingly dynamic environment media industry.

Privacy Rights: -

Privacy has its root in India since the inception. In India as per our Grundnorm "The Constitution of India" right to privacy under Article 21 has officially been acknowledged as the fundamental right given to a citizen. The present right is of paramount importance to the celebrities as it helps in addressing the concerns which come across them related to their privacy. In the modern era where the thinking revolves around the concept that if an individual is a Celeb their life is an open book for the public due to which the intense scrutiny faced by the celebrities and amplified by the media about even the minute detail of their lives. This article puts a stop on it somewhere or the other. So as a result the right to privacy acts as a helping hand in ensuring that autonomy and personal space is maintained for the celebrities in an environment where there lives are under a constant media attention.

Publicity Rights: -

The concept of Publicity Rights is a mix of the privacy and personality rights the combination of these 2 rights serves as a foundation of publicity rights. Breach of privacy is very much prevalent case scenario in India and if we talk about celebrities it is pretty much clear that they are always in news bulletins and not only this there is a negative side too this popularity and fame that is the image and untrue news which spreads which have a very high change to damage the personality of these celebrity. All such violations have led to many legal affairs in the Indian Justice system aiming to get rid of such practices.

One such notable instance to be highlighted is the case of Titan Industries Ltd. Vs. Ramkumar Jwellers. In the present case it was held by the Delhi High Court that the celebrities or personalities favoritism can be used in an advertisement and for commercial purposes but with their consent and approval for the same.

This right gained more importance after the acknowledgement made by the Supreme Court on the aspect of Right to Privacy as a fundamental right. After this recognition given by Supreme Court it enforces more attention of safeguarding the personal space of individuals and abiding by from dissemination of their private information. In the present scenario where the reach of media platforms is very wide. In the context of media and public exposure all these legal framework/ laws play a pivotal role in maintaining dignity and reputation of celebrity.


In the ever-growing field of Media and Entertainment where the light shines right on the celebrities and artists even after so much popularity there is need to build a bridge/ fill the gap which is there in the lack of comprehensiveness of legal system to safeguard the interest and rights of these shining stars. Even though the media and the entertainment industry run's on popularity and talents of celebrities there is a need of well defined and designed structure that protect the rights of celebs and give a dignified treatment to them.

In India due to lack of a well-defined structure there are a lot of inadequacies pertaining to the rights of celebrities and artists. There is a need of robust legal framework to guard these rights and interest of the celebrities. Mainly engaged in the entertainment industry. The present system of law though includes economic rights but still it lacks comprehensive protection that is to be provided to the celebrities to address complexities of modern media.

To conclude there is a much need to improve the arena of protection of celebrities rights and interest and for that there is a string requirement of robust legal framework which can curb any such violation of rights and interests. This can be done by the amendments in pre-existing laws, to put fines on any violations which happens these are some ways which can help in modification in the area of rights and interest of the celebrities to bridge that gap of lack on any action if any of the rights of celebrity is violated this should be done proactively and on utmost priority to nurture the skills of the celebrities.

References: -

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