Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Copyright Litigation Blog Goes 3d - My Avatar on Rights of Publicity and Other Recordings

If you are reading this post directly from my blog, my avatar should appear - slowly to the right side of this post.

When a photographer takes your portrait, the photographer owns a copyright in the photograph. But can the photographer use your image in advertising without your permission?

I created the avatar from a photograph and a voice recording and it will live until I kill it. Or not. I have posted an image (a bad one) of the avatar below for future generations, since I will probably kill the talking one soon.  It's a great novelty, but my execution is pretty amateurish and I am not entirely sure that it completely fits the Copyright Litigation Blog's overall tone.

For those future generations who aren't treated to the live-action version, my avatar's eyes move around and follow your cursor after I stop talking (the recording ends).  If you leave the blog on the screen for a bit, you will see my eyes continue to follow your cursor around.  During the sound recording, the avatar mimics my speech, moves its lips, eyes and head in an odd photorealistic way. One Copyright Litigation Blog fan described it as "creepy". I recorded a few messages, so you can listen more than once.

Technology will soon improve the 3d quality and the service would have worked better if I had a portrait where I was looking straight ahead.   This is an attempt to make a 3d from a 2d photograph.  Soon 3d will be here.

"Rights of publicity" or "rights of privacy" protects the name, likeness, voice and image of a person. As my avatar makes clear, such rights will become increasingly valuable in the virtual world, it will become easier to commit identity theft and impersonate living individuals - or replace them.

These rights are regulated by state, not federal law.

Remember, wait a bit.  Then move your cursor around, my avatar's eyes will follow you.

More on rights of publicity here and here.
 Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook 2010 by Raymond J. Dowd from West here  

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