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Unauthorised exploitation of an athlete’s portrait in the Netherlands


Even when the 'portrait' of a well-known professional athlete is disclosed without authorisation for a short period, such disclosure may already have significant consequences in the Netherlands. This follows from the judgment of the Amsterdam District Court of 25 April 2018 in the matter between the famous Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen and online supermarket chain Picnic. Picnic shared on its Facebook page a video that featured a look-alike of Verstappen. The commercial was deleted after one day but had, even in this short period, been viewed on the internet and in national media hundreds of thousands of times. The Amsterdam District Court ruled that Picnic acted unlawfully towards Verstappen by the inclusion of the look-alike in the disclosed commercial, as a result of which Picnic had to pay a compensation of €150,000 to Verstappen. Tim Wilms and Rogier de Vrey discuss this decision and examine under which circumstances the use of a portrait of a well-known athlete is considered unlawful in the Netherlands.

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Portrait of Rogier Vrey
Rogier de Vrey
Tim Wilms