Robin van Persie’s iconic goal in Friday’s World Cup match has gone far from unnoticed: his diving header was picked up across the Internet in a variety of ways. For instance, the Albert Heijn supermarket in Kerckebosch has an exclusive with its ‘Robin van Perssinaasappelen’ (juice oranges), a young Van Persie makes a swallow dive in a Calvé commercial, and Stabilo has created a flipbook depicting the goal.
But are these pick-ups legal?
First, all photos of Van Persie’s dive are copyright-protected, which means the relevant photographer’s permission must be obtained to use them.
Second, Van Persie can invoke his portrait right. After all, he is a well known and popular footballer whose popularity is cashable (‘cashable popularity’). If his portrait and name have been used for commercial purposes without his consent, he can have the images banned (with immediate effect) and claim compensation for loss or damage.
Seeing that Albert Heijn is one of the Royal Dutch Football Association’s partners and their partnership also focuses on the Dutch team, it is likely that the Association approved the Kerckebosch supermarket’s World Cup pick-up. Calvé is already running another advertising campaign starring the young Van Persie. In other words, these two pick-ups are probably permitted.
However, this is not true for Stabilo’s pick-up. Van Persie’s features (including his posture, face and haircut) are identifiable in the drawings and he has a reasonable commercial interest in objecting to this video.
And what about images in which Van Persie is flying through the sky like Superman or alongside Peter Pan?
In these cases, Van Persie’s portrait and name are not used for commercial purposes and he does not have a reasonable interest in opposing these pick-ups. It is also impossible for the photographer to take action, given that these images qualify as parodies of the original photographs.