The Commercial Appropriation of Fame: A Cultural Analysis of the Right of Publicity and Passing Off

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‘The value of the mediated persona of a well-known individual is sustained by
a complex interplay of encoding by cultural producers and decoding by
audiences.’ This insight lies at the heart of David Tan’s book on The
Commercial Appropriation of Fame.
A quick search on the internet will reveal the most lucrative celebrity
endorsement deals of the last decade, deals involving a range of actors,
musicians, models and those more famous for ... well ... just being famous.
Such deals include Michael Jordan’s US$60 million per year deal with Nike
just for shoes, George Clooney’s 10-year association with Nespresso and
Justin Bieber’s infamous Nintendo sponsorship, with the Nintendo 3DS
eclipsing even Mariah Carey in Bieber’s All I Want for Christmas video in
David Tan has written an engaging and interesting study of the legal and
commercial principles of the use and appropriation of fame. Despite the
longstanding cultural significance of fame and the interest in the exploitation
of such fame by means of affiliation, endorsement and association, it appears
that the value of fame in its own right has never been more significant.
Celebrities are sought after to endorse products and causes well outside their
areas of expertise, such as David Beckham’s perfume line, and beyond this,
many of the most famous people in the Western world are famous simply for
being famous. The combination of reality television and social media has
created a global cult of fame and personality. This book considers ‘how the
commercial exploitation of fame may be regulated’ in the era of celebrity for
celebrity’s sake.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Specialist publicationMedia and Arts Law Review
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • celebrity law
  • Appropriation
  • right of publicity
  • publicity law
  • right of privacy
  • book review


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