What law states that you cannot use someone's name to reap benefits or profits made from their names without their permission?
It would be very helpful to be able to know an exact law that can prove why its unlawful to benefit from using someones name without their permission.
Misappropriation (or appropriation) is the unauthorized use of a person's name, photo, voice, or endorsement to promote the sale of a commercial product or service. This is a tort of invasion of privacy. The other torts of invasion of privacy are: (1) intrusion on a person's solitude or seclusion, (2) public disclosure of private facts, and (3) showing a person in a false light in the public eye.
In most states, you can be sued for using someone else's name, likeness, or other personal attributes without permission for an exploitative purpose. Usually, people run into trouble in this area when they use someone's name or photograph in a commercial setting, such as in advertising or other promotional activities. But, some states also prohibit use of another person's identity for the user's own personal benefit, whether or not the purpose is strictly commercial. There are 2 distinct legal claims that potentially apply to these kinds of unauthorized uses: (1) invasion of privacy through misappropriation of name or likeness ("misappropriation"); and (2) violation of the right of publicity (this is the right of a person to control and make money from the commercial use of his or her identity.)
In some states, celebrities cannot sue for misappropriation of name and likeness (on the theory that they have no privacy interest to protect), and non-celebrities may not sue for violation of the right of publicity (on the theory that their personalities have no commercial value). The growing trend, however, is to permit both celebrities and non-celebrities two sue for both misappropriation and violation of the right of publicity, as long as they can establish the relevant kind of harm.
A person's entire name need not be used. If the person could reasonably be identified, the misappropriation claim probably will be valid. Additionally, even if the celebrity is dead a cause of action could arise.
Note: Since this can all get very complicated, you may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in this area of the law.