Alaska, admitted as the 49th state of the United States in 1959, has rarely considered the right of publicity.



Common Law - Right of Publicity

No court to date has considered a right of publicity claim under Alaska law.


The Supreme Court of Alaska recently dismissed a right of publicity case on jurisdictional grounds, concluding that in the absence of sales within the state, a defendant could not be brought into Alaska courts. Harper v. Biolife Energy Systems, 426 P.3d 1067 (2018).


Common Law - Right of Privacy-Appropriation Tort


Alaska has recognized the common law tort of invasion of privacy and cited to the Restatement (Second) of Torts, making it likely that courts in Alaska would recognize the tort of misappropriation if such a claim were raised. 

Luedtke v. Nabors Alaska Drilling, Inc., 768 P.2d 1123 (Alaska 1989)

Doyle v. Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., No. 3:05-CV-0300-TMB, 2006 WL 8438639 (D. Alaska May 31, 2006)

Post-Mortem Right

No court has considered this question

First Amendment Analysis

Prior to becoming a state, a federal district court for the territory of Alaska suggested the existence of a public interest/newsworthiness defense in a case involving the use of photographs of a plaintiff on an expedition in Alaska.

Smith v. Suratt, 7 Alaska 416 (D. Alaska 1926).

Alaska sits in the Ninth Circuit which has had occasion to consider the interaction between the First Amendment and the right of publicity under California law. The Ninth Circuit has adopted a variety of tests for assessing First Amendment tests in such instances, including California‚Äôs transformative use test, and a broader balancing approach. 

In re NCAA Student-Athlete Litigation, 724 F.3d 1268 (9th Cir. 2013)

Hoffman v. Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., 255 F.3d 1180 (9th Cir. 2001)