Image rights


Image rights are the expression of a personality in the public domain. In Spain, as in most countries, the law regulates the commercial exploitation and protection of image rights associated with a person. Thus, the image right becomes a property right capable of protection under the legislation, enabling the rightsholder to protect, license, assign or otherwise  commercially exploit the use of his/her image or of personal attributes such as the voice, likeness, appearance, silhouette, feature, face, expressions, gestures and any other distinctive characteristics or personal attribute.

In Spain, image rights are protected both by the Constitution and by the laws. According to the Spanish Constitutional Tribunal, image rights consist of the faculty each individual has in order to prevent third parties to obtain, reproduce or make the owner’s image available to the public without his/her prior consent, regardless of the aim pursued (information, commercial benefits, scientific or cultural purposes, etc.). No photograph, illustration, image, picture, moving image or electronic or other representation of an individual shall be used or published without his her permission. Unlawful uses of third parties’ image may be deemed as an infringement of privacy laws and result into the initiation of court proceedings.


Although the general rule states that nobody is entitled to obtain, use or exploit a third party’s image without his/her prior consent, there are some exceptions to that rule in the following cases:

  • Public figures, when their image is obtained during a public event or in a public place.
  • Caricatures of public figures, according to social uses
  • Graphic information about some event or public act when the reproduced person is not identified or singled out or in connection with the use of the picture.

In all other cases it will be necessary to seek the authorization of the third party whose image you are planning to obtain, use or exploit. The most common and secure way to seek such authorization is the signing of an image rights assignment agreement, where the terms and conditions of such assignment must be set forth (term, purpose, permitted uses, compensation, etc.).


Domènech Corbella – Legal Services offers professional advice on all kind of issues related to the protection, use and assignment of image rights, including:

  • Review, negotiation and drafting of contracts: We prepare, negotiate and review all kind of contracts related to the protection and/or commercial exploitation of image rights.
  • Representation in court proceedings: we will represent you and enforce your image rights in court, should an out-of-court settlement not be possible.
  • Response to all legal consultations: Feel free to submit your queries regarding privacy and the protection, use or exploitation of image rights. We will provide you with complete legal advice and solve all your concerns rapidly and effectively. Send us an email, call us or contact us through the contact form on this website, and we will deal with your inquiry immediately.