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Diego Maradona: an image that sells


Today’s news (el Nuevo Herald) refers to Maradona, one of the world greatest footballers – a legend, who is preparing to open his own cable TV and internet.

The launch is taken place in Mexico, and Cavalti, one of his partners in this project, said that the programmes will mainly focus in sports, entertainment, fashion and celebrities. He also mentioned that the revenues will come from subscriptions and through advertising and sponsorships.

The channel will carry Maradona’s image and be called ‘10 ETV’. The name comes from his famous T-shirt number and the letter E referring to entertainment. Maradona, himself will have few shows.

For those of you who follow football know that Maradona will be coaching the Argentinean team in the World Cup. And for those of you who have followed his career know that he is known as an outspoken person and quite controversial. In 2005 he hosted a TV program in Argentina called ‘La noche del 10" in which he interviewed Pelé, Mike Tyson, Fidel Castro and Robbie Williams winning all rankings.

While many IP practitioners and academics still debate the protection of ‘personality rights’ and/or ‘celebrity image’ one thing is certain, celebrity’s images are exploited and they are profitable. This technique, long used, allows a person or company (in this case it will be the TV channel and internet) to take advantage of Madona’s image. Clearly it will be used to promote and sell these services.

This type of right comprised two matters: one which is the right to publicity and the other, the right to privacy. I will focus on the first. With the World Cup coming up, I wonder how Maradona can keep his image and likeness from being commercially exploited by other channels, specifically those in Argentina. Certainly, there is a fine line. However, it is clear that Maradona cannot create a monopoly right in his popularity. In another line, where does the Argentinian channel in which Maradona recorded programs stands? can it keep repeating the programs and perhaps marketing his image?

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