Missouri recognizes both a right of publicity, and a distinct privacy-based tort of appropriation.
No court has considered this issue.
Does the law require the plaintiff or identity-holder to be a celebrity or have a commercially valuable identity?
The privacy-based appropriation tort does not require such a showing, but the right of publicity may turn, in part, on the plaintiff having a commercially valuable identity. The Missouri Supreme Court, however, has declined to so hold. Several appellate courts have nevertheless suggested that a right of publicity action requires that one be a celebrity, or otherwise have a commercially-valuable identity.
Does the law protect persona?
The Missouri Supreme Court has allowed a claim arising out of a comic book character that did “not physically resemble” the plaintiff, because in context the variation on the plaintiff’s name caused a “correlation” or “connection” between the plaintiff and the character. In another case, the state supreme court rejected a claim that a person’s horse identified that person.
Is Liability Limited to Uses on Commercial Advertising or Commercial Speech?
The Missouri Supreme Court has applied the right of publicity in the context of noncommercial speech. A right of publicity claim must be for the defendant’s “commercial advantage,” but this has been applied to expressive works, such as comic books. The misappropriation claim does not require a commercial use of any sort.
The Eighth Circuit has held that Missouri’s right of publicity is preempted by federal copyright law when the claim arises out of an authorized copyrighted work.