Who: Francesco Totti (the famous Italian professional footballer who plays for and captains Roma)
Where: Rome (Italy)
When:28 November 2016
Law stated as at:
Francesco Totti, the FC Roma captain, has formally warned anyone from using his image in a political context, without his prior consent. This followed his image being used alongside the Vote ‘No’ campaign relating to the recent constitutional referendum. In particular, his image (manipulated in an anti-Renzi manner) was that of the player holding up four fingers as a sign of victory, to mimic his historical “four to zero and at home” image and thus recalling a memorable victory of the Rome team against FC Juventus.
Why this matters:
The claim of the world champion is completely legitimate. It is clear under Italian law that the unauthorised publication of an image depicting a public figure – or taken as part of a public event – divorced from its original context and placed in a different context with a distortion of the intellectual, political or social rights of the person in question, constitutes not only a violation of his personal image rights (protected by Article 10 of the Italian civil code and articles 96 et seq. of the Italian Copyright Law), but also a violation of his right to personal identity, protected by article 2 of the Constitution, even in the absence of any harm to his honour or dignity.
Such violation gives rise to a right to damages, most likely assessed on an equitable basis pursuant to art. 1226 and 2056 of the Italian Civil Code, taking into account the recognisability of the person in question, the degree of the disclosure, the potential number of recipients and likely detrimental nature of any accompanying text.