Your personal attributes such as your name, voice, and likeness are your personal property. As such, others do not have the authority to use them without your permission. If another person uses your personal attributes sans permission, then he or she is said to have appropriated them. Appropriation of name or likeness is a damage for which you can seek compensation. Here are three proofs you will need when you take the offender to court:
The Defendant Used Your Identity
The first thing is to prove that the defendant uses your protected identity. This is because states vary on the meaning of protected personal attributes. Examples of personal attributes that your state's laws may prohibit others from using include picture, portrait, voice, signature, and name, among others.
For example, your name is expressly protected under Florida state laws. Therefore, if you can prove that the defendant used your name (for example by falsely stating that you had endorsed a product), then you have proven this first point.
The Defendant Did Not Have Your Permission
After proving that the defendant used your protected identity, the second proof needed is that he or she did not have your permission. If the defendant had permission to use your personal information in one way, you could prove lack of permission if he or she used it in other unauthorized ways.
For example, just because you give a blogger permission to use your photograph in his or her blog doesn't mean that he or she has the leeway of using it wherever and whichever way he or she pleases. Therefore, if your permission (release) was only meant for the blog, and the blogger includes your name in a newspaper advertisement claiming that you have endorsed a product, then he or she clearly doesn't have your consent for this purpose.
The Defendant Exploited Your Identity For Personal Gain
Lastly, you will need to prove that the defendant benefited from the appropriation of your name or likeness. Additionally, the benefit must be immediate and direct. Some states will only allow you to proceed with these lawsuits if the benefit is of a commercial nature. For example, commercial exploitation is when your name is used to advertise a product. However, there are states that recognize all sorts of benefits including noncommercial ones.
If you suspect that somebody has used (and benefited from) your identity without your permission, then it's time to consult an attorney about it. Consider contacting a professional like those at Burgess, Harrell, Mancuso, Colton, La Porta & Shea.