Skip to main content

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

(303) 268-2867

Invasion Of Privacy: Appropriation Of Name Or Likeness Lawyers In Colorado


Another type of invasion of privacy shares many characteristics of defamation (for more information on defamation, click here). This makes sense because both torts involve a defendant who makes statements or carries out acts concerning a plaintiff wherein the defendant did so for its own purposes/benefit, commercially or otherwise. Defamation, however, goes a step further in requiring that the statement be false, whereas appropriation of name or likeness does not. While this may seem like an overly broad cause of action, defendants benefit from a number of powerful affirmative defenses.

Most importantly, use of a plaintiff’s name, likeness, or identity is privileged under the First Amendment and not actionable when it is “made in the context of, and reasonably related to, a publication concerning a matter that is newsworthy or of legitimate public concern.”[1] This privilege is known as the “public interest privilege.”[2]

On the other hand, if the character of the publication is “primarily commercial,” the privilege will not apply.[3] Social or political commentaries, lifestyle features, artistic and entertainment works, including parody and satire, may also be protected as long as they are not predominantly commercial.[4] Notably, speech is not commercial simply because it is published by a profitmaking enterprise, such as a newspaper, magazine, or television station.[5]


In order to recover for invasion of privacy by appropriation, a plaintiff must prove all of the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence:

  1. The defendant used the plaintiff’s name, likeness, or identity;
  2. The use of the plaintiff’s name, likeness, or identity was for the defendant’s own purposes or benefit, commercially or otherwise;
  3. The plaintiff had damages/injuries/losses; and
  4. The defendant’s use of the plaintiff’s name, likeness, or identity was a cause of the plaintiff’s damages/injuries/losses.[6]

A particularly unique limitation observed in Colorado for this cause of action relates to recoverable damages. An individual whose name or likeness has been appropriated may recover “personal damages,” which include emotional injury, harm to reputation, and related financial losses.[7] On the other hand, however, Colorado does not recognize damages based upon the commercial value of one’s persona.[8] In other jurisdictions, courts have recognized a “right of publicity” against one who appropriates, without consent, the plaintiff’s name, likeness, or identity, under which commercial damages are recoverable if the plaintiff proves value in his or her identity.[9] This right is not observed in Colorado.


Invasion of privacy: Appropriation of Name or Likeness is a nuanced and complex cause of action in Colorado. At Volpe Law, our attorneys are ready to help you with your potential claim/defense: give us a call at 303-268-2867 or complete a consultation request form for more information on how we can help!

[1] Joe Dickerson & Assocs., LLC v. Dittmar, 34 P.3d 995, 1003 (Colo. 2001).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] CJI § 28:4, Source and Authority ¶ 3 (citing 1 Robert D. Sack, Sack on Defamation: Libel, Slander, and Related Problems § 12:5 (5th ed. 2019)).

[5] Dittmar, 34 P.3d at 1004.

[6] CJI § 28:4.

[7] Dittmar, 34 P.3d at 1002.

[8] Id.

[9] CJI § 28:4, Source and Authority ¶ 2 (citing Restatement (Third) of Unfair Competition § 46 (1995)).


The information contained on this website is provided for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be construed as providing legal advice on any subject matter.  Laws frequently change and therefore this content is not necessarily up to date, nor comprehensive. Contact us or another attorney with any legal questions specific to your matter. You may request a consultation by completing our consultation request form.

Contact Us Today

Volpe Law is committed to answering your questions about Civil Litigation, Real Estate, Construction, Business Litigation, Breach of Contract, Tort Litigation, Mechanics’ Liens, and Contract Review & Drafting in Colorado.

We offer a Free Consultation and we’ll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to request an appointment with one of our attorneys.

Office Location

Directions to Volpe Law

19751 E. Mainstreet, #342
Parker, CO 80138

Phone: (303) 268-2867

Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri: 09:00am - 05:00pm

The material on this site and on any third-party web site link included on the Volpe Law, LLC website is for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website may be construed as legal advice. Laws frequently change and therefore this content is not necessarily up to date, nor comprehensive. Contact us or another attorney with any legal questions specific to your matter. You may request a consultation by calling us at 303-268-2867 or completing a consultation request form. Using this website, filling out any forms, or communicating with Volpe Law, LLC through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship. Your matter may be subject to time limitations. You may be barred from taking any action if you do not timely act. Using or interacting with this website does not constitute your reliance on Volpe Law, LLC to take any action to represent you or preserve any claim that you may have or may assert. Please see Terms of Use for further information.