Copyright as a form of intellectual property right
Copyright is a form of "intellectual property right". "Intellectual property right" is a collective term used to describe the rights of any creator over his or her creative works.
Image rights and publicity rights are similar to copyright, but these rights are granted to individuals themselves rather than to their creative work. Such rights are therefore protected under the Constitution or the Civil Code, not by Copyright Law.
The Civil Code forbids unauthorized possession or use of a person's image (in the form of photographs, drawings, sculptures etc). This ability of individuals to protect their image is known as "image rights", and unlawful infringement of these rights constitutes an illegal act [Civil Code 709-710]. However, the act of determining illegality gives rise to delicate problems in relation to the freedom of the press and freedom of expression. A news photograph of a public nature will not be judged illegal, but images that are not of a public nature will be understood as being illegal if they were taken without the consent of the person in question. ("Horitsu Shojiten (A Shorterl Legal Dictionary) 3rd edition, Yuhikaku)
While the privacy of well-known figures such as actors and actresses, entertainers or athletes is restricted compared to that of ordinary people, they possess the proprietary benefits of receiving remuneration for allowing the use of their names and images by third parties. When the image or name of a person is used commercially in advertisements and so on, the proprietary interests of that person are called publicity rights. ("Sekai Daihyakka Jiten (World Encyclopedia)" Heibonsha)