The business of renowned people’s images and reputation is not new in the world, especially in countries with well-developed entertainment industry.
As the business has not been shaped up in Vietnam, reputation of blockbusters and renowned people is not able to bring in commercial benefits, and this is partially due to shortage of detailed regulations.
Customers are willing to pay more for a product as it reminds them of a reputed person, a film or a well-known event such as Mickey Mouse, Larva, and excellent football players like Nguyen Quang Hai, among others.
In the end of 2017, Disney file a lawsuit against a Chinese national to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for using a quotation in its “Winnie the Pooh” cartoon which is “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump elicited surprise as well as a rebuke from HBO after tweeting a picture of himself with the words “Sanctions are coming on November 5”. The tweet echoes a popularly-quoted tag line “Winter is coming” from HBO’s hit fantasy TV series Game of Thrones, uses similar-looking branding to Game or Thrones. HBO did not hesitate to respond in kind a few hours later with the tweet “How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?”.
A multitude of business formsBased on fictional characters
Famous fictional characters from literature like Alice (Alice in wonderland), artwork like Mona Lisa by Da Vinci, and animated films like Tintin, Pinochio, Doraemon, Po, Shrek and Elsa can spice up marketing strategies. They can help a firm nudge their products closer to a large number of consumers, who are big fans of those characters.
Based on reputation of an individual
In this form, celebrity branding is used to generate buzz around a product or service. Having a famous person advertise a product can be a powerful tool for marketing. Celebrities can shine a bright spotlight on all kinds of businesses.
Actually, consumers would feel more secure about quality of a product if it receives endorsement from a famous person. Businessmen believe that a cheap commodity becomes attractive to consumers because it is added credibility and glamour of a celebrity.
Based on images of celebrities or fictional characters
Dong business based on images is rather new in recent years, including the use of fictional characters, and celebrities in TV shows.
Consumers show greater recall of products that have been endorsed by celebrities, regardless of whether they are actual fans or not. The human brain recognises celebrities similarly to how it recognises people we actually know. The effect is that if consumers happen to be fans, they place a higher value on products that celebrities are endorsing – it is as if they are receiving advice from a valued friend.
With celebrities vouching for or promoting their products, brands can increase awareness, trust and familiarity, which are important variables in the purchase decision-making process. For example, if captain Jack Sparrow starred by Johnny Depp, Hannah Montana by Miley Cyrus, or Phan Quan by Hoang Dung and Luong Bong by Trung Anh appear in advertising clips to promote brands, consumers will feel more sympathetic towards those products.
Legal business of celebrities’ images and reputation
Celebrities’ names and images play an important role in business; therefore, businessmen should have thorough understanding of celebrity-related rights so as to have legal business.
Rights for fictional characters are asset rights, including the rights to use, determine and get benefits from characters’ images, and they are belong to the characters’ creators, except for when the rights are sold to other individuals or organisations.
It is a little bit more complicated when it comes to a celebrity. The rights inherent in names, images or appearance of a character are called personal rights. A celebrity can grant authority or sell his or her rights to a business organisation.Intellectual Property Rights
Copyright is the most important mechanism to protect characters used in business activities. Most of the countries in the world set that there is no protection for graphic characters’ names. However, the characters can be recognised if they are fully described, have distinctive features, and gain popularity among the public. This means the characters will become an “icon” if they meet standards in originality and fixity in line with the copyright law.
Copyright infringement dispute on four characters in the series “Than Dong Dat Viet”, namely Trang Ti, Suu Eo, Dan Beo and Ca Meo, is a standout example of intellectual property rights conflict. In order to decide who is the owner of the characters, it is a must to define whether the four characters are eligible to form an “independent work” or not.
In many cases, copyright protection based on celebrities have specific limitations as copyright does not belong to people owning popular characteristics but those who create works having the popular features. For example, an artist who creates a portrait of a renowned person, will own the copyright, but not the model.
There are several differences between intellectual property right protection and protection against unhealthy competition. Intellectual property rights come from intellectual assets that are protected. Meanwhile, protection against unhealthy competition is considered based on legal regulations such as the Competition Law. The Competition Law regulates that commercial indications that cause confusion or the use of images and reputation of a celebrity can be described as unfair competition activities which could be handled in accordance with legal regulations. Other protection forms Many countries have issued regulations allowing owners of the characters or features of the celebrities to protect them from illegal business and advertisement. Business of celebrities’ names and reputation has been expanded in various sectors. It will benefit those who know how to use the images legally./.