The Dutch Supreme Court has ruled that a look-a-like could constitute "an image" protected by image rights. The matter relates to F1 driver Max Verstappen, who featured in a 2016 TV commercial for Jumbo, a Dutch supermarket chain, in which he delivers groceries with a racing car.
A competitor chain, Picnic, then launched a commercial featuring a look-a-like of Verstappen, delivering groceries in Picnic branded lorry.
According to the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam, ruling on the infringement claim brought by Verstappen, image rights only grant protection against the actual use of one’s own image. As the image of the driver itself was not used, it could not have been infringed.
The Dutch Supreme Court held on the contrary that, under certain circumstances, a look-a-like can constitute an image, if it is established that the possibility of recognition was (purposefully) enhanced. The portrayed person must have a legitimate interest to object to the use of its image.
The case is now sent back to the Court of Appeal, who will decide whether Verstappen has sufficient legitimate interest to object to the look-a-like.