This post was written by Avv. Felix Hofer.
1. The general principle is that the use of a person’s image without his/her consent is basically prohibited (this even more if such use is performed for marketing or – in general – commercial purposes). In Italy the right on a person’s image is governed both by the Civil Code and the Intellectual Property Act (Law no. 633 dated April 22nd, 1941, amended and integrated in the following).
(i) According to Section 10 of the Italian Civil Code the image of a person, or of his/her parent, spouse, or child can be exhibited or published only if such use is explicitly permitted by law and provided that the use does not cause prejudice to the dignity or reputation of the person represented.
Should abuse occur (save for the cases in which the use performed results in a criminal offense), a local (civil) Court can order termination of the abuse and award damages.
(ii) The local Intellectual Property Act contains additional provisions on the use of a person’s image.
(ii.a.) A person’s image MAY NOT be exhibited, reproduced or put on sale without his/her consent (so Section 96 of Law n° 633 dated April 22nd, 1941).
(ii.b.) Exceptions to this basic provision (i. e. use without consent) are allowed if the reproduction of a person’s image is justified by his/her notoriety (see Section 97) and by a public interest (e. g. for purposes of information to the general public).
(ii.c.) Finally, a person’s image may not be exhibited or put on sale if such use causes prejudice to the represented person’s honour, dignity or reputation (Section 97 of the Intellectual Property Act).
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