Can't use Amitabh Bachchan's name, voice, picture sans permission: HC
Delhi High Court issued an interim order stating that Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan's name, voice, and image cannot be used without his permission. This comes after Bachchan filed a suit seeking protection of his personality rights—image, personality attributes, voice, and image. Senior advocate Harish Salve represented the Shahenshah actor. Salve mentioned that the actor's name and image were used in a gross manner.
Why does this story matter?
- Bachchan is a household name and has been relevant for more than five decades. The actor has attained megastar status and is famous for his iconic voice and mannerisms.
- His voice is used for many important government messages and PSAs.
- His image and voice were used in Tier-II and Tier-III cities without due permission, which has led to a face loss for the actor.
What led to filing the lawsuit?
Harish Salve cited examples of advertisements in smaller towns in India. He stated a WhatsApp lucky draw copied the Kaun Banega Crorepati logo and later turned out to be a scam. He spoke about other such fake ventures which use the actor's name/image unfairly. From fake Big B video calls to using his face on T-shirts and selling fake posters, all have been included.
Justice Chawla's orders on the case
The court directed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to remove the flagged content. Justice Navin Chawla said that the actor is a well-known personality and noted that the actor is aggrieved by those using his celebrity status to promote their agenda without due permission. The judge also noted that the plaintiff might suffer irreparable loss if the order is not passed.
What are personality rights?
Personality rights aka right to publicity are rights of a person to control the commercial usage of their identity—name, image, likeness, or other unequivocal identifiers. The person has the control to commercialize their identity in the form of voice, signature, likeness, appearance, silhouette, feature, face, expression, gesture, mannerism, and distinctive character. These sets of laws are a part of common laws.