No Personality Rights for Pop Stars in Hong Kong?

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Referred to as 'the Pearl of the Orient' for generations, Hong Kong is a glamorous city known for its lavish lifestyle and the rich and famous. Its entertainment products, in particular movies, television programs, and music, are highly popular in not only Asia, but also different parts of the world. Yet, the region does not offer strong protection of personality rights to celebrities. This development provides an interesting contrast to developments in the United States, where Hollywood actors receive very strong protection of their name, likeness, image, voice, or other personal attributes. The lack of protection also contrasts strongly with that of China, which offers in its civil code a right of portrait.

This book chapter begins by tracing the American origin of the right of publicity as an independent cause of action. It underscores the difference between this discreet right and the type of protection available in Commonwealth jurisdictions. The chapter then discusses the leading case in Hong Kong, Lau Tak Wah Andy v. Hang Seng Bank Ltd. The chapter explores why Hong Kong has yet to offer strong protection of personality rights despite having fertile conditions for such development. The chapter concludes by focusing on three areas of influence that may impact the future development of personality rights in Hong Kong.

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Cambridge Intellectual Property and Information Law

Series Title

The Law of Reputation and Brands in the Asia Pacific


Cambridge University Press


Andrew T. Kenyon, Megan Richardson & Wee Loon Ng-Loy

Series Editor

Lionel Bently & Graeme Dinwoodie