Appropriation of Name or Likeness

A claim for appropriation of name or likeness is one of four common law claims for invasion of privacy recognized in the District of Columbia. An appropriation claim is generally based upon a person’s improper use of another person’s reputation. Such a claim may arise, for example, where a person uses another person’s name or likeness – without her consent – to advertise a product or service. The appropriation must be unreasonable and serious.

A victim of appropriation may recover compensatory damages for injury to her privacy interest, emotional distress, and pecuniary losses.

For information about other civil claims recognized in the District of Columbia, click here. For information about how to use this guide, click here.

[Sources: Douglas C. Melcher, Tort Claims and Defenses in the District of Columbia § 22 (2014), and legal authorities cited therein.]