S. Che Ekaratne is a lecturer at the University of Canterbury School of Law. Her research interests include comparative aspects of entertainment law and intellectual property law.
Before entering academia, Che was an attorney in the Washington DC office of an international law firm, where her work included submissions to the U.S. Supreme Court. She holds a B.A. from Yale University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an LL.M. from the University of Bristol.
Presentation at 2015 New and Emerging Scholars Symposium
Che will give a presentation as part of the New and Emerging Scholars Symposium at the University of Canterbury School of Law on 7 August 2015. Her presentation is titled: “Altering Personal Images Without Consent: Copyright Law and Beyond”.
This presentation draws on her current doctoral research involving a comparative analysis of personality rights, particularly with respect to images.
Che’s current research project involves a comparative analysis of personality rights, particularly with respect to images.
Unauthorised use of a person’s image and other identifying points can result in emotional, reputational and financial harm to the individual in question. In response to calls for legal protection in such circumstances, different jurisdictions have developed different approaches. Some jurisdictions recognise a ‘right of personality’ or ‘right of publicity’ that allows individuals to prevent unconsented use of their images and other identifying points in certain contexts. Other jurisdictions (including New Zealand) do not explicitly recognise such a cause of action – resulting in developments in other areas of the legal framework.
Che’s doctoral research (under the supervision of University of Canterbury Professors Ursula Cheer and Stephen Todd) will examine the extent to which protection against such unauthorised use is provided for in the current New Zealand legal framework, particularly with respect to images. Her research will also analyse relevant laws of selected other jurisdictions, including some jurisdictions that explicitly recognise a right of personality/publicity. This comparative aspect of Che’s research would include critically evaluating selected foreign laws and drawing parallels to their potential compatibility with existing and emerging New Zealand law – bearing in mind that with new technological developments, legal issues in this area are only likely to increase.
Having observed the power of image use through her research, Che uses her own sketches and drawings in her teaching at the University of Canterbury School of Law. This has resulted in excellent student feedback indicating that her sketches and drawings facilitate students’ deeper learning of complex legal concepts. Che’s teaching at the University of Canterbury includes coordinating and lecturing in the Intellectual Property Law course at the School of Law.