The U.S. Copyright Office has proposed creating the first federal right-of-publicity law that would provide minimum protections amid a patchwork of state laws that protect the commercial use of names, images, and likenesses.

The office suggested that Congress enact a “narrowly tailored” law that would not pre-empt existing state laws or precedents but provide a “floor” of protection for right of publicity. Most, but not all, states have either a statute or a controlling precedent that provides some level of...