Iowa has recognized a right to privacy, but has not yet considered whether there is a separate right of publicity. 




Criminal Harassment/Invasion of Privacy for Explicit Images: In 2017, Iowa passed a criminal law prohibiting the dissemination, distribution, publishing or posting of an image of a “person in a state of full or partial nudity or engaged in a sex act” without consent.  The law is now part of the Iowa Code Section 708.7.

Common Law - Right of Publicity


No court to date has considered an independent right of publicity. One federal district court, however, has predicted that Iowa would recognize an independent right of publicity. 

Sharp-Richardson v. Boyds Collection, Ltd., 1999 WL 33656875 (N.D. Iowa 1999)

Common Law - Right of Privacy-Appropriation Tort


Although the state has not decided a case under the appropriation branch of its privacy law, it has recognized both a right to privacy and the appropriation branch of that tort.  

Bremmer v. Journal-Tribune Pub. Co., 247 Iowa 817 (1956)

Winegard v. Larsen 260 N.W.2d 816 (Iowa 1977)

Post-Mortem Right


The state recognizes that the right to privacy of patients’ medical records survives death, but has not addressed post-mortem rights based on a misappropriation claim. 

State v. Thompson 836 N.W.2d 470, 490 (Iowa, 2013).

First Amendment Analysis

Although no court has analyzed the First Amendment in the context of the misappropriation tort under Iowa law, Iowa sits in the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals. In C.B.C. Distribution & Marketing, Inc. v. Major League Baseball Advanced Media, L.P., 505 F.3d 818 (8th Cir. 2007), the Eight Circuit applied a balancing test and held that the use of players’ names and statistics by a fantasy sports league was protected by the First Amendment against a claim under Missouri’s right of publicity.

Other Commentary

In 2017, a bill to prohibit use of drones to capture images of others on private property without permission was introduced, and remains under consideration as of February 2018.