Q: Real (royalty free) picture of a famous person on a book cover? "Personal rights"?

I myself am a european and I am planning on publishing a book about an actor who is a US Citizen (note: it will have a negative connotation for that person).

On the book cover I am planning to use a "free for use" (creative commons) image of that person. So no copyright-problems will occur.

Although, in Europe there is something called a "personal right", I don't know the legal restrictions in the US and I need a "go"/a confirmation from a lawyer in the US for me to do that unscrupulously.

In Europe, since this person is "a person of public interest", I would be allowed to publish the cover with an image of that person. But since I want to sell it primarily to the US, US legal restrictions are more important to me.

Thank you for your reply!

1 Lawyer Answer
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Licensed in District of Columbia

A: You may be violating the person's publicity rights. Careful you're not also sued for defamation or IP violations. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney such as myself. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AEesq.com. I practice law in CA, NY, MA, and DC in the following areas of law: Business & Contracts, Criminal Defense, Divorce & Child Custody, and Education Law. This answer does not constitute legal advice; make any predictions, guarantees, or warranties; or create any Attorney-Client relationship.

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