I'm no lawyer, so the following is to the best of my understanding.

In Dutch copyright law there's the notion of portrait rights. This law specifies certain restrictions for the author of a photo/drawing/painting/sculpture/etc and rights for the person in the art piece.

For this to count as a portrait, it says that it doesn't necessarily need to show the face. It is enough if the person is recognizable, for instance from other body features, iconic clothing or posture.

I was wondering, with the internet being a thing, if this recognizability requirement extends to alter-egos/personas/main oc/etc. They and their likeness and character traits are a recognizable characteristic of the person behind that persona.

For example, if you have an account on a certain website (say YouTube or DeviantART) where you always represent yourself with a certain character (for avatars, emoticons, profile pictures, etc), instead your own photo. This character is uniquely used as an identifiable character by you (so not something like a character from a movie or a game). You then commission someone to make a drawing of this character for yourself. Do portrait rights apply in this case?

1 Answer 1


I am not sure about the scope of "Portrait Rights" under Dutch law. But the original avatar or character image would presumably be protected by copyright, in which case the commissioned work would be a derivative work, and so subject to approval by the holder of the original copyright. In any case, since this is a commission, the artist and client should have a contract in which they agree on what rights the client is purchasing, which would be a cleaner way of dealing with the matter.

Only if there was no such contract would there be a need to fall back on the Portrait Rights.

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