University of Miami Business Law Review

Document Type



For the past several decades, technology has allowed us to create digital human beings that both resemble actual celebrities (living or deceased) or entirely virtual personalities from scratch. In the near future, this technology is expected to become even more advanced and widespread to the point where there may be entirely virtual celebrities who are just as popular as their flesh-and-blood counterparts—if not more so. This raises intellectual property questions of how these near-future digital actors and musicians should be classified, and who will receive the proceeds from their performances and appearances. Since, in the near-term, these entities will probably not develop sentience akin to an artificial general intelligence, they will essentially function as software licensed out to execute tasks on various entertainment projects— be it acting in a movie or delivering a performance on stage or in the metaverse. As such, this paper proposes that virtual celebrities be classified as software, and their owners (either corporate or individual) should enjoy copyright protections for their use, and image and name trademark protections in case they are unlawfully copied by third parties.