The right of publicity is a form of protection attaching to certain persona under highly specific circumstances of limited interest in the context of fictional characters. The property ordinarily attaches to a celebrity or other public figure or to an individual who is otherwise newsworthy. Rarely does the right of publicity attach to an independent (fictional) persona created by an actor or other performer or accepted as a "signature" of such a celebrity.
Clayton Moore's continued assumption of the persona of the Lone Ranger is a case in point never subjected to judicial analysis. (seechapter 6.) Dracula, as personified by Bela Lugosi, is the principle example of such a created character examined by the judicial system. The Marx Brothers represent a kind of transition between real persons and fictional persona. Just how successfully these unique persona have been protected will be considered here.
The right of publicity is of interest in terms of fictional characters as a conceptual bridge between the basic protection of intellectual properties in literary and the performance media and the protection of characters in their merchandise incar